You’re healthy. You’re also on always the run, and you don’t have a lot of extra time or money for medical appointments. Do you really need a primary care physician? The answer is yes. Your primary care doctor establishes a relationship with you over time, gets to know your health goals, and helps you manage your overall wellness, calling in specialist physicians as needed. He or she provides immediate care, everything from flu shots to annual checkups, while also coordinating and supporting your long-term health. Centro Medico Latino, with locations in Charlotte and Monroe, North Carolina, offers a complete line of primary care services to children, adults, and seniors.
Our family practice serves Latino and underinsured/uninsured communities. We treat a wide range of conditions and offer everything from pre-employment physicals and diabetes and cholesterol testing to fertility services. We can help you complete your immigrant medical exam, as well. Our bilingual providers do it all while taking your financial situation into consideration and keeping care and treatments affordable.
Benefits of Having a Primary Care Physician
If you have annual visits with a primary care doctor, he or she will begin to develop a comprehensive understanding of your medical history and the medications you are taking. The doctor will also come to understand your personality, your lifestyle, and your preferences regarding types of medical treatments. Developing a relationship with a primary care doctor has a number of benefits, some of which may surprise you.
You Save Time
We’ve all been there: sitting in a waiting room at an urgent care center filling out piles of paperwork and trying to piece together your medical history. (When was it that I fractured my little toe? And what was the name of that blood pressure medication?) Having a primary care doctor means that when minor medical issues flare up, you can skip some of that paperwork and more quickly see your provider to get the care you need.
A primary care doctor already knows you and your medical history. And because you have a doctor who is overseeing your health and helping you keep on a good track, you’re less likely to end up in the emergency room or in urgent care.
You Save Money
Having a primary care physician actually saves most patients money in the long run. We know it may seem counterintuitive because seeing a primary care doctor means medical appointments. But primary care physicians usually charge less than urgent care clinics and specialists, and they’re definitely cheaper than a trip to the emergency room.
Plus, having an established connection with a primary care doctor who knows your health means medical issues are more likely to be caught and treated early, keeping you out of urgent care and the emergency room in the first place.
Over the long run, the money you spend on annual trips to your primary care provider and taking other preventative steps usually adds up to less than what you’d spend if you waited until you have a major health flareup and end up in the emergency room.
You Stay Healthier
No one likes being sick, and a primary care physician can provide individualized and comprehensive care that keeps your health on track. A primary care doctor offers preventative care and may recommend tests that can determine your risk of developing conditions like heart disease and diabetes.
The doctor can also help you manage chronic conditions once they develop and recommend lifestyle changes to minimize your chances of becoming sick. Primary care doctors can also help with behavioral health conditions. Overall, patients who work with a primary care physician tend to live longer, healthier lives.
There still may be times when you may need the help of a specialized medical provider, but your primary care doctor can help you navigate the complicated world of specialists and refer you to the best one for your needs. And because your primary care provider will know your medical history and personality, you’ll likely get better and more suitable referrals to specialists.
You could seek out a specialist yourself, but when you refer yourself, you’re the one making the decision about what kind of specialist you need, based on what you guess your medical problem is. Relying on a primary care physician to direct the process minimizes the chance of unnecessary tests and referrals. Our practice has connections with a number of excellent specialists in North and South Carolina, so we can ensure that you’re being directed to the best medical providers.
Your Medications Are Managed
Many patients take more than one prescription drug. When drugs are prescribed by different specialists, the primary care provider plays the important role of making sure all of the patient’s medications are working together, ensuring that the side effects of the pharmaceuticals don’t interfere with each other.
A primary care provider can work with the various prescribing physicians to make any necessary adjustments in frequency or dosing so that the medication regimen is safe and effective.
You Have Less Stress
Going to the doctor is no fun, but having a primary care doctor does help take the stress out of health care. You won’t have to go searching for a doctor or specialist every time you have a medical flareup. Medical visits will be less stressful as well because you’ll already be familiar with the office staff and the doctor.
And lastly, you won’t have to worry or wonder about your overall health and whether it’s time to see the doctor or have a particular screening done. Your primary care doctor and his or her staff will keep track of all of that for you.
Who Are Primary Care Providers?
Physicians, including those trained in family medicine, internal medicine, and pediatrics, are commonly used as primary providers. Physicians assistants and nurse practitioners also serve as primary care providers.
Dr. Carlos Rish of Centro Medico Latino is a residency-trained family practitioner with more than 20 years of experience and additional training in surgery, urology, emergency room medicine, and colposcopy. We also have physicians assistants and nurse practitioners on staff who can address all of your medical needs.
How to Select a Primary Care Physician
Selecting a primary care doctor is an important decision. The practice or physician you choose should ultimately be a provider with whom you feel comfortable discussing personal health topics with. Look for someone who will answer your questions, speak in terms you can understand, and involve you as a partner in your care. You want someone you can trust and communicate with.
Our staff speaks English, Spanish, and Portuguese, and Dr. Rish is fluent in English, Spanish and French. As you make decisions about a primary care physician, here are some tips on how to select the best provider for your family:
Talk to friends, family members, and co-workers about their doctors and who they recommend. Getting recommendations from others is a great first step toward narrowing down the pool of available providers and identifying a good primary care doctor for your family. But keep in mind that everyone has different needs and styles. The physician who was perfect for your second cousin may not be perfect for you.
Make sure the provider you are considering has a convenient location and hours. You won’t feel like traveling far if you’re sick, and you’ll be more likely to keep your preventative annual appointments if the practice is convenient for you. Our practice has two locations in Charlotte, North Carolina and one location in Monroe, North Carolina. We accept walk-ins six days a week and are often able to offer patients same-day appointments.
Insurance and Payment
Health care is necessary, but it can be expensive. If you have insurance, an important part of your selection of a primary care provider will be whether or not the practice works with your policy. Our practice prides itself on serving the needs of underinsured and uninsured communities in the Charlotte and Monroe, North Carolina, areas. We strive to provide the full scope of high-quality family medicine while still keeping costs low for our patients. We will take your financial situation into account when making treatment recommendations.
Every patient has different needs, and sometimes those needs change over time. When selecting a primary provider, consider the specialties he or she offers and determine whether or not they align with what you need. We are a full-service family medicine practice that cares for infants, senior citizens, and everyone in between. Our practice can help you manage conditions like diabetes, heart disease, and hypertension. We can also help you manage mental health, and we perform minor surgeries on site, including wart treatment and cyst removal.
Our other specialties include female wellness, abnormal PAP diagnosis, and LEEP treatments, which are performed after abnormal cells are found during a Pap test or colposcopy. We also offer infertility and STD treatments. Maintenance and preventive care are big parts of our practice, as is our participation in the state’s free vaccination program.
Additionally, we offer immigrant medical exams, known as the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services Physical Exam. This exam cannot be administered by just any doctor. A designated civil surgeon must carry out this exam and guide you through the paperwork. Dr Rish has the necessary designations to guide you through this process. Our team is fluent in English and Spanish, and we can provide translation services if you speak a different language.
Trust Your Gut
This may seem obvious, but it’s important that you find a primary care provider that you trust and feel comfortable with. After your first appointment, ask yourself if you felt at ease with the practice and the doctor. Did you have enough time to ask questions, and were all of your questions answered? Was the physician able to explain things in a way that you understood? Did you feel comfortable with the demeanor and environment of the medical office? Trust your gut when it comes to your selection of a physician.
One of the most important steps you can take toward long-term health and wellness is to find a primary care provider you can trust and communicate with. Centro Medico Latino is equipped to care for every member of your family, from children and adolescents to parents and grandparents. We have multiple providers available to work with you, and we have established relationships with specialists, laboratories, and imaging centers, with the goal of providing our patients comprehensive and affordable services.
Take the first step to a healthier you by calling Centro Medico Latino in Charlotte and Monroe, North Carolina today to set up an appointment.