This is the first in a series of four “We Mean Health” articles that can help New Yorkers live healthier lives.
Getting medical attention often goes one of two ways:
The first is seeking immediate, non-life-threatening care at an urgent care center or heading to the emergency room for life-threatening care. With this type of reactive medical care, costs can add up—some of which your insurance plan may not cover. Or, you might not have insurance coverage. In these situations, costs can be overwhelming for an individual or family trying to make ends meet.
The second way someone might get medical attention is by proactively going to a primary care provider, also referred to as a PCP, before you develop a condition or before the condition progresses to the point where urgent, emergency care is required. A PCP may be a doctor, physician assistant, nurse practitioner, or other health care professional. Through this preventive care, you and your PCP may be able to catch health concerns early when they are more easily treated, or better manage a chronic health issue.
The second option is generally the most cost-effective option. Why? Because, as the saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
In medical professional terms, “The relationship with my patients is vital to great discussion and shared decision making as it pertains to preventive health. A provider must build trust and understand each patient’s unique concerns to be able to coordinate care that leads to optimal outcomes.” advises Dr. Nicole Thomas-Sealy, vice president of clinical training & education for internal medicine at AdvantageCare Physicians.*
If you are meeting a new PCP for the first time, or you already have a PCP, it’s important to schedule an annual checkup. During an annual visit, your PCP can flag current health risks—like high blood pressure, breast cancer, and diabetes—often before they become too severe. And while nearly 1 in 2 Americans suffer from at least one chronic health condition, it can often be managed more effectively with help from your PCP. They can guide you to take steps to prevent disease and, in some cases, reverse disease if detected early.**
Ideally, you develop a long-term relationship with your PCP. They get to know you and your health history and offer recommendations for preventive care. This may include testing and screenings that help with early detection and disease management.
Through this ongoing connection and care, you form a healing bond with your PCP. Research shows that a sustained relationship will increase the PCP’s knowledge about their patients, leading to improved communication and patient trust. As a result, it is more likely the PCP will better understand their patient’s medical needs and be able to communicate more effectively, making it more likely that they will detect and treat medical conditions.***
Regular preventive care is one of the best things you can do for your health, and for your wallet. Bonus tip: Having a PCP and an insurance plan , whether you’re and EmblemHealth member or not, is a winning combination, as it can connect you to even more cost-effective care options while supporting your health goals. Learn more about how to find a PCP, choose an insurance plan, and discover additional resources for health risks that may affect you and your fellow New Yorkers at emblemhealth.com/wemeanhealth.
This article is the first in a series focused on some of the health issues important to keeping New Yorkers healthy, including high blood pressure, breast health, and diabetes. Our second article will cover high blood pressure—its impact on heart health, the importance of screenings, and resources for healthy living.
At EmblemHealth, we go beyond coverage to connect you to nearby care and health and wellness resources that can help keep you healthy. Because we don’t only mean coverage, we mean health. EmblemHealth is one of America’s largest not-for-profit health insurers, serving more than three million people in the New York tristate area. With an over 80-year legacy of serving New York communities, EmblemHealth offers a full range of commercial and government-sponsored health plans to employers, individuals, and families as well as virtual and in-person community resources through EmblemHealth Neighborhood Care.
*AdvantageCare Physicians is a subsidiary of EmblemHealth and is one of the largest primary and specialty care medical practices in the New York area. AdvantageCare Physicians’ team-based approach to care means EmblemHealth members have access to doctors, nurses, social workers, nutritionists, behavioral health specialists, and other professionals. Through BronxDocs, an affiliate of AdvantageCare Physicians, EmblemHealth members and other patients also have access to primary and specialty care in the Bronx.
**Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2021.
***Family Medicine 2004; The Patient-Physician Relationship, Primary Care Attributes, and Preventive Services. Michael L. Parchman, MD, MPH; Sandra K. Burge, PhD.