“I don’t need a doctor, I am healthy.”

We’ve all heard or said that before. But health can be relative. Although most of us are aware of what is considered the healthy thing for us to do, putting it into practice can be a far different matter. And the truth is that we are not each individually equipped to diagnose our own general state of health.

Your health status is subject to change. Sometimes a change in our state of health can come on more abruptly, such as an infection or physical change in our body’s comfort or performance. This is when most people decide it’s time to visit a doctor. However, sometimes it is a gradual occurrence, often noticed over time and related to self-evaluation: “I used to be able to do that.” / “I don’t have the time for this anymore.”

Many people aren’t aware that a primary care physician can help prevent poor health before you may even be aware of it. It is important to seek out and establish a working relationship with a doctor who can monitor your health over time. Someone who can develop a long-term relationship with you, maintain your health, help reduce your risk of disease and diagnose risks at a point when they may be dealt with effectively. Primary Care Physicians (PCPs) such as General Internists, Family Practitioners, OB/GYNs and Pediatricians are trained and experienced in the comprehensive care of the whole patient.

The American College of Physicians recently released a report based on over 20 years of research, with a bibliography of over 100 supporting articles, evaluating the role of primary care physicians in the medical field. It states that today’s shortage of PCPs is lowering the entire nation’s quality of healthcare while increasing its cost. Based on this evaluation, researchers surmise that unless primary care is more heavily emphasized, the entire country will face an increase in preventable and premature deaths.

Page five (11/71) of the report states that: “An increase of 1 primary care physician per 10,000 population in a state was associated with a rise in that state’s quality rank by more than 10 places, and a reduction in overall spending by $684 per Medicare beneficiary. By comparison, an increase of 1 specialist per 10,000 population results in a drop in overall quality rank of nearly nine places and an increase in overall spending by $526 per Medicare beneficiary.”

Furthermore, the report goes on to say that: “Living in a primary care shortage area represents an independent risk factor for a preventable hospitalization.” But when patients visit one primary care physician who is knowledgeable of their history and health, well-being is ensured through ongoing holistic care.

In 2007, Dr. Richard A. Levine restructured his practice to offer one-on-one concierge services. This change was motivated by his desire to best address the needs of his patients in South Florida. Members have year-round access to one primary care physician who oversees their every medical need. Through full-time access, enhanced communication and patient advocacy, Dr. Levine helps members maintain wellness. Emphasis is placed on early detection and preventive measures to keep patients out of the hospital and in good health. Member benefits also include coverage for dependents 15-29 years of age.

How Is A Shortage of Primary Care Physicians Affecting The Quality and Cost of Medical Care. To learn more about the benefits of membership with Dr. Levine, please call (561) 368-0191.