The current state of primary care in the District isn’t pretty.
On average, it takes 17 days to get an appointment with a family physician. Between 2010 and 2014, the number of primary care providers in DC dropped nearly 15 percent. And with continued instability and increasing healthcare costs, primary care’s focus on preventive care and identifying problems before they’re big is more important now than ever.
But with good primary care so hard to find, how do you know what to look for?
“We all need a health sherpa to guide us through the medical (and non-medical) bumps in life,” said Casey O’Bryan, FNP, a primary care provider at One Medical’s Dupont Circle office. “Establishing a relationship with a primary care provider should be an extra force field of goodness and reliability in a turbulent, internet-rabbit-hole world.”
“Primary care is more than just an annual physical. It’s your medical home,” said Julia Lim, MD, from One Medical Tysons.
Essentially, quality primary care becomes the hub for everything related to your health, with your primary care provider, or PCP, guiding you through it all. That means your PCP becomes an expert in you and your health goals, listening, translating test results and working with other medical professionals to make sure you’re getting better — your partner in health.
“When you have a trusting relationship with your PCP, you’re more likely to be honest about your health concerns and lifestyle,” added Amy Stulman, NP, from One Medical Union Station. “And providers who know their patients well are better equipped to offer individualized care and health recommendations.”
“It can be challenging in DC to find those qualities in a health practice that is also accessible and timely,” Lim said, “and One Medical can do just that. With same- and next-day appointments, you can get care when you actually need it from a provider who knows you.”