Tuesday , 21 October 2014
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Studies Don’t Lie: Patients Benefit from a Strong PCP Relationship

A senior from Broward County is rushed to the emergency room because she mixed medications that are contra-indicated. Another bounced around from specialist to specialist, undergoing duplicate tests and procedures.

All of this could be avoided.

More than 100 studies document the critical role primary care physicians (PCPs) play in patient care. PCPs can be many things for a patient—their cheerleader, advocate and even their medical interpreter—but most importantly, the studies prove that having a strong relationship with a PCP leads to better quality of life, more productive longevity, and lower costs as a result of reduced hospitalization, improved prevention and better coordination of chronic disease care. AvMed Health Plans, one of the oldest Medicare providers in South Florida, has embraced a more PCPcoordinated approach to healthcare. The company recently introduced CenteredCare®, which puts the PCP at the center of every member’s care.

According to Dr. Edwin Rodriguez, Medical Director at AvMed, this coordinated approach will lead to better health outcomes for patients.

“Some 15-20% of Medicare hospital admissions are due to medication complications,” said Rodriguez. “By developing a strong relationship with your PCP, you can avoid this.”

Louise Schendel, a senior from Margate who visits her PCP every three months, admits she would be lost without the lasting relationship she has built with her PCP over the years.

“When I have a problem, I call him and he tells me exactly where to go and what to do. I feel like I have someone out there rooting for me,” said Schendel, an AvMed Medicare Advantage plan member for two years. “Without my PCP I wouldn’t have the confidence on where to go and what specialists to visit.”

William Pena, M.D., a primary care physician who practices in Hollywood, often acts as an interpreter for patients who don’t always understand what a specialist recommends:

“They want us to explain procedures. The best way to get better results is when a patient clearly understands what they have and how to interpret tests. They need to understand their options for treatment and they rely on their PCP to help.”

To learn more about the importance of building a strong relationship with your PCP, visit www.AvMedMedicare.org.

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