Grand River Chronicle

Connecting our Communities

The Importance of Having a Primary Care Provider

A primary care provider can help maintain good health, stay healthy, they can help prevent disease, and managing chronic disease for overall better quality of life. We sat down with both Dr. Megan Patrick and Tami Griffith NP, to ask common questions regarding the importance of having a primary care provider.

Dr. Megan Patrick

Dr. Megan Patrick

Tami Griffith, CFNP

Tami Griffith, FNP-C/BC

Q: What is a PCP and why is it important to establish care with a PCP?
A: A PCP is a primary care Provider. It is important to establish a PCP so that you have a doctor who gets to know you and your medical history. They can serve as your medical home! They can make sure you have all the testing you need for any specific health conditions you have, and they can keep you up to date on all of your preventative health screens. They can also help with referrals to specialists that you may need.

 Q: What are the perks of having a PCP?
A: Becoming familiar and comfortable with one provider. Your PCP will get to know you and your medical history.

 Q: What is the difference between a doctor and a nurse practitioner?
A: A doctor has a medical degree that they receive after completing 4 years of medical school. They also complete a residency training program that is at a minimum 3 years long after graduating from medical school. A nurse practitioner has a nursing degree, then completes additional training to become a nurse practitioner through either a Master’s program or a Doctorate program.

Q: Can a nurse practitioner be a PCP?
A: Yes, a nurse practitioner can be a PCP.

Q: Why is it important to have an annual exam?
A: It is important to have an annual exam to review medical history, any changes, and to update any preventative or screening exams that may be due.

Q: What does the annual exam usually include and how long is an appointment for an annual exam
A: An annual exam usually lasts about 30 minutes and usually includes:

  • Review of any concerns you may have.
  • Review of medical, surgical, social and family histories.
  • A physical exam.
  • Review of any preventative or screening exams, tests or vaccines that may be due.

Q: What is the difference between a well women exam and an annual exam?
A: A well woman exam includes a clinical breast exam and pelvic exam, and will include a Pap smear if the patient is due, in additional to all the above.

Q: Do most insurances cover annual exams?
A: Most insurances do cover annual exams.

Q: How old do you have to be to start having annual exams?
A: Annual exams start from the time the patient is a child.  From ages 3 and up patients are seen once yearly.  As children, these are often referred to as well-child checks.

Q: Where can I find a list of providers that will best fit with me?
A: You can find a list of providers on our website:  There are also short biographies so you can learn more about our providers, and select one that may be a good fit for you.