Though much as been written about the importance of having a Primary Care Physician (PCP), I’m still surprised by the number of people I meet who haven’t established a relationship with a PCP.
The benefits of having a PCP are, quite literally, built into the definition of the word “primary.”
1. Of chief importance; principal.
2. Earliest in time or order of development.
Your primary care physician is your partner in health—one whose “principal” concern is understanding the full spectrum of your medical needs. He or she is the first stop on any healthcare journey and serves as your advocate and guide through the various treatments and specialties available to you as a patient.
However, for reasons I may never understand, many patients still choose to go at it alone.
I remember a story my friend Kevin told me about when he first moved to Naples (And yes, he insisted I share the details here). It was early 2010 and, within two weeks of his arrival, the brand-new full-time resident found himself in the emergency room at Physicians Regional-Collier Boulevard with a gastro-intestinal issue. As one who takes his health care quite seriously, Kevin had attempted to establish a relationship with a new PCP; however, the private practice he reached out to did not return his calls.
Here’s how Kevin recently described it to me: “I can’t tell you how awful it felt. Up north, I had the same primary care physician for 25 years, and now I was being treated by—albeit kind and knowledgeable—strangers. I missed the relationship I had given up with my northern doctor. I was sick, confused, scared and alone. It was a very vulnerable feeling.”
Kevin continued: “Upon hearing my story, the Physicians Regional gastroenterologist assigned to my case took the time to match me up with one of her family medicine colleagues. Not just any colleague, but the physician she felt was best suited to me as a patient and as a human being. What’s more, before I left that day, I had an appointment card in my hand. I was so relieved and grateful.”
If Kevin’s cautionary tale has you reconsidering your current PCP situation, consider Physicians Regionals’ Dr. Gary Webb. Dr. Webb is Board Certified in Family Medicine and specializes in general family health care for patients of all ages to include preventative care, acute illness, geriatrics, and management of chronic conditions such as hypertension, diabetes, and heart disease. In addition, Dr. Webb specializes in treating asthma, thyroid, gastrointestinal issues, anxiety and depression.
Dr. Webb was raised in Loma Linda, California. And though he eventually worked in the medical field as a clinical lab scientist, at age 40, Mr. Webb decided to become Dr. Webb and began medical school at American University of the Caribbean School of Medicine in Coral Gables.
Dr. Webb’s explanation for this noteworthy shift in his career path: “I noticed an increase in substandard medical care juxtaposed against America’s growing aging population. I knew I wanted to work with the senior community as I’m very intrigued by the aging process. Though we are living longer these days, who wants to live longer without the quality of life?”
When it comes to longevity, one of the mysteries Dr. Webb finds interesting: “Is it nature or is it nurture—or both?”
Following assignments in Hawaii and Texas, Dr. Webb has now landed at Physicians Regional Healthcare System-Collier Boulevard. As a geriatrician, he also places a special emphasis on communication in his effort to treat the whole person. “People like that I’m a good listener,” he says. “I try to treat them like family. And once they get to know me, they start to treat me like family, too.”
And his view on the relationship between PCP and patient? “My patients know that I’m their advocate. I will find the answer. I help direct them to the right specialists to help them get services they need.”
Yes, exactly what a primary care physician is supposed to do. Get one.
To schedule an appointment with Dr. Webb, call 239-348-4221, or schedule online at PhysiciansRegionalMedicalGroup.com