Why Primary Care Physicians are Essential to Well-Being — Peter W. McCauley, Sr.

Talking Trends
3 min readAug 22, 2022
Photo by Hush Naidoo Jade Photography on Unsplash

The importance of establishing and maintaining a good relationship with a primary care physician (“PCP”) has never been more evident. As the doctors in charge of patients’ overall well-being, PCPs serve as the nerve center for maintaining both physical and mental health. PCPs play an essential role in diagnosing and managing chronic conditions such as high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, and obesity all of which can lead to severe illnesses if left untreated. They can also guide care for depression and anxiety. According to the CDC’s National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (“NCCDPHP”) 6 in 10 adults in the US have a chronic disease, with 4 in 10 actually having two or more. Yet the number of people who have consistent primary care — whether provided by an individual doctor or a team — has been steadily declining.

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic I did a series of promotional ads on TV and radio highlighting the role that PCPs play in understanding your physical health. To start, there are four basic health numbers we should all know:

1. Blood Pressure

2. Cholesterol

3. Blood Sugar

4. Body Mass Index (“BMI”)

These four markers are crucial to maintaining well-being as they help detect early signs and symptoms of illnesses while they’re more readily treatable. PCPs routinely check these numbers as part of annual check-ups and more frequently when treating chronic conditions. Seeing a PCP on a regular basis ensures that any variations are caught in a timely fashion.

Another key element of good primary care is that the patient needs to feel comfortable and can speak openly and honestly about how they’re feeling both physically and emotionally. Being able to express feelings of loneliness, depression, or anxiety, as well as sleeplessness, is crucial as these factors can have an impact on overall health. PCPs promote body and mind wellness and may recommend guided meditation and aromatherapy for stress relief in addition to traditional medicine.

Many people do not have access to primary care and as a result we have seen an increase of unmanaged chronic conditions leading to more serious illness and more costly treatments. Alternatively, creating wellness outreach programs such as the one I participated in 2019 is just one step in reversing this trend. In addition we need to promote primary care as one of the best preventive measures. Let’s remind the public that Benjamin Franklin was right when he said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

Peter W. McCauley, Sr. has a 30 year track record of profitable, inclusive health care leadership. He is a well-respected, actively practicing pediatrician serving Chicago’s far south side for over 24 years. His expertise in value-based health care, combined with the ability to lead and influence provider groups and hospital systems to adopt this reimbursement model vs. standard fee for service, helps to improve quality outcomes for patients while making health care more affordable for all.

https://www.linkedin.com/in/petermccauleysr

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