Our office policy is to assign each patient a “primary provider” (PP, a.k.a. “case coordinator”). Your PP should be the MD or PNP in our office who really gets to know you and your child well. He or she should be the one who sees your child for routine physicals (“well child visits”) and for scheduled followup of illnesses & other problems. The PP is also responsible for making referrals and communicating with any subspecialists you see. Your PP may not be available when your child needs an urgent sick visit, however, and therefore these may take place with any available provider. The purpose of having a PP is to improve the quality of care, particularly for children with chronic illness, by ensuring that one of our providers will really get to know them well.
Frequently Asked Questions:
What if we don’t want a PP? We like all your providers, and being able to switch around & see anybody is very convenient. Can we still do that? It depends. If your child is well, with no significant chronic illness, then yes. Just tell the front desk that’s what you want to do, and we will leave them unassigned. If, however, your child has any significant chronic illness or ongoing long term problem they should have a PP to manage it best.
The PP assigned to my child is not who I expected or wanted. Can I switch? Yes. Parents can choose whoever they like to be their child’s PP, and they can change that choice at any time (within reason – changing too frequently would defeat the purpose of the policy). All you have to do is inform the front desk of your choice.
Can I choose anybody? The only limitation is that certain provider’s panels may from time to time be closed because they have too many patients. You cannot choose a closed provider unless he/she personally authorizes an exception, which can be requested through the front desk or by contacting them directly. Currently Dr. Winterkorn is the only provider with a closed panel. She usually grants exceptions for parents/children she already knows well and newborn siblings of such children.
We already picked a “PCP” in your office through our insurance. Isn’t it the same thing? No. There is no connection between our internal office systems and those of your insurer. The PCP selection is for billing purposes and does not affect how we operate. There is no need to make your PCP and PP match in the two systems, and selecting a PCP with your insurer does not automatically make that person your PP here.
Our child sees two different providers in your office frequently. Do we have to choose between them? Not necessarily. While it’s not typical, sometimes it’s best to assign two “co-PP’s” who work on different days of the week so that you have multiple options.
We really like our nurse practitioner, but want to make sure a physician remains available to us and involved in our child’s care. Will this be a problem if we pick her? This shouldn’t be a concern. Our PNP’s work as a close team with our doctors. In severe or complex cases we often designate a particular MD as the 2nd “co-PP” with a nurse practitioner. In this situation the PNP acts as case coordinator and the physician acts as primary decision maker, but they both get to know your child well.