National Primary Care Week, observed Oct. 5-9, is an annual celebration of the contributions that primary care work makes toward the health of the nation.
Sponsored by the American Academy of Family Physicians, the week is a means to inspire the nation’s new doctors to embrace primary care, but also is an important way to pay tribute to other providers of primary care, like nurse practitioners, physician assistants and clinic and practice staff.
Primary care is the day-to-day healthcare given by a health care provider. Primary medical care in the United States is delivered by three specialties: family medicine, general internal medicine, and general pediatrics. Typically, this provider acts as the first contact and principal point of continuing care for patients within a healthcare system and coordinates other specialist care that a patient may need.
With the ongoing nature of the Coronavirus pandemic, one might say the role of primary care in society has never been as critical as it is today. In addition, primary care physicians are essential partners in identifying and addressing social determinants of health.
As Boca Grande’s primary health resource, the Boca Grande Health Clinic is proud to provide an environment driven by personalized care of patients – what we believe is the hallmark of primary care. Up until COVID-19, primary care has been driven by the face-to-face medical visit. According to Health Affairs, “the number of distance visits—specifically defined as e-visits, phone visits, and video visits—has exploded, leading to a breathtaking change in primary care.”
An August report published by the Commonwealth Fund, a nonprofit private foundation supporting independent research on health policy, noted that visits to physician offices and other healthcare practices, which had fallen 60 percent by early April, have now rebounded and plateaued at 10 percent below pre-pandemic levels
It would not be an understatement to say that the COVID-19 pandemic has brought dramatic changes to the delivery of care. That is certainly the case at the Boca Grande Health Clinic. To decrease the risk of transmitting the novel coronavirus to patients or healthcare staff, we have modified practices at the Clinic to safely accommodate in-person visits and increased the use of telemedicine.
While the future of primary care will certainly challenge all of us to embrace new avenues of care, one constant for us at the Clinic is an unwavering commitment to personal care – no matter how we provide that care.
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