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What is Primary Care?

  • Category: Health & Wellness
  • Posted On:
  • Written By: Apicha Community Health Center
Last updated on October 3, 2023

What is primary care?

Primary care is a first-contact, accessible, continuous, comprehensive, and coordinated person-focused means of care that you can receive without going to the hospital. Without a primary care provider, you may visit a hospital or even a local urgent care clinic. Although these are good options for receiving care, they may not be the best places to go for minor illnesses or injuries. You may think that these are your only options if you are uninsured. However, going to a hospital or an urgent care clinic can be expensive in the long run, if used frequently. Lucky for you, whether you are uninsured or only partially insured, you have other options for receiving care that are nowhere near the cost of an emergency room visit. At community health centers, like Apicha, you are able to receive quality healthcare no matter your ability to pay.

Your First Point of Care

Primary care refers to the day-to-day healthcare provided by our providers. A primary care provider is who you should reach out to first when you have a medical issue or question. A primary care provider can help resolve your issue or refer you to a specialist.

Although most primary care providers are generalists, primary care includes many services, including:

  • Annual physical exams
  • Regular check-ups for diabetes, cholesterol, and blood pressure
  • Health education
  • Health maintenance
  • Vaccinations
  • HIV/STI Screening
  • Chronic disease management for conditions like HIV/AIDS, hypertension, diabetes, asthma, Hepatitis B, and C
  • Care for short-term illnesses like strep throat, bronchitis, sinus infections, and STIs
  • Mental health and depression screenings
  • Referrals to specialists

What exactly is a primary care provider?

You can think of a primary care provider as a general doctor, who may or may not have a medical specialty. They act as a grounded point of contact who will keep track of all your medical information as you may need to go to visit a specialist or another type of provider. That provider will keep your file on record, kind of like how a school would keep track of your grades or any qualifying credit transfers. This filing system can give you a sense of relief as it will ensure that all your medical records and history are kept together so that you can receive the most comprehensive and well-informed care possible. This is also a flexible and transferable service, so if you move and need a new provider closer to where you are now, you can ask for that provider to send all your records to your new provider. A primary care provider can also transfer your information to a specialist if need be.

Why Should I Have Primary Care?

You should have a primary care provider to do annual and routine checkups, bloodwork, vaccinations, or even provide you with a sick note for school or work. Even if you are a picture of health, routine checkups make sure that stays the case. Although someone may look and feel healthy, we are made up of many different minerals and hormones that can indicate that something is wrong before we start experiencing any symptoms. So, primary care can help you monitor your health and keep an eye out for anything concerning.

More benefits of having a primary care provider are:

  • Having an established medical provider to contact if you need any health issues addressed
  • Building a relationship with a medical provider and establishing trust
  • Having a medical professional who knows you and your needs
  • Receive quick and timely care

At Apicha, we offer low-cost, inclusive, comprehensive primary care services to anyone in need. We offer services to anyone regardless of their ability to pay or insurance status. If you are uninsured or underinsured, we offer a low-cost/sliding-fee scale option based on your income. This means that if your income is below 200% of the federal poverty guidelines, your visit fees will range from $20 to $75. However, prescription and lab fees are not included in this fee and would be an additional cost.

Patients living with HIV may be eligible for services under the Ryan White Early Intervention Service Program, Part C. Eligible patients are exempt from Apicha’s nominal service charge.

As a patient of Apicha CHC, you can expect the following:

  • You will have your own provider who understands you and your health care needs
  • You will get regular check-ups for diabetes, cholesterol, blood pressure
  • You will get the necessary vaccines and cancer screenings appropriate for you
  • If you smoke, we can work with you to help you stop smoking
  • Medication prescriptions and assistance with prior authorizations
  • You will be screened for depression and anxiety and, if needed, you have access to Apicha’s on-site Behavioral Health Specialists
  • Ability to book same or next-day appointments when you are sick
  • You can see our Registered Dietitian for nutrition counseling and weight management
  • For the things we cannot address, we will help you find a specialist and coordinate your care
  • Access to our in-house pharmacy and free prescription delivery service

As an Apicha patient, you are able to fill your prescriptions at our in-house pharmacy and may be eligible for reduced-cost medication. You will not need to worry about getting your medication on time or not being able to afford it. Our pharmacists work with our providers to make sure that your treatments are paid for by your health plan. If you are uninsured, our team will look for available resources to assist you in getting the treatment that you need. With our diverse staff, we can set you up with a primary care provider who can cater to all your needs, including language.

Schedule an appointment by calling (212) 334-6029 (Manhattan location), (718) 567-5200 (Queens location), or online by clicking here. If you have more questions about becoming a new patient, click here for more information.