Coordinated Care and Specialty Referrals
Your primary care doctor is an important part of your medical team, especially if you participate in a managed care plan. Some insurance companies require patients to obtain referrals before seeing medical specialists, so it is important to keep your primary care provider up-to-date about your health. If you are in need of a consult with a specialist or a referral for specialized services, Chapel Hill Primary Care can oversee your coordinated care with other providers.
Care coordination is one of the most important jobs of a primary care physician. If you work with several healthcare providers, it is important that all of them know what tests you have had and what medications you are taking. Your primary care physician will make sure you have coordinated care throughout your treatment so you do not undergo unnecessary tests or take medications that can interact with your current prescriptions.
Coordinated care is especially important if you have a chronic condition or have recently been hospitalized for surgery or other medical services. If you have a chronic illness, you likely see at least one specialist who helps manage your condition and prevent it from getting worse. Your specialist should send copies of all test results and visit notes to your primary care doctor so everyone on your healthcare team knows how you are doing. If you recently left the hospital, you should see your primary care physician within a few days of your discharge. Doing so can help you reduce the risk of complications and avoid a second hospital stay.
If you need surgery or another type of specialized care, your primary care doctor can give you a medical referral to an experienced specialist. You might be referred to a cardiologist if you have chest pain or other signs of heart problems, or you may need a referral to a pulmonologist if you are experiencing problems with your lungs. If you prefer to get opinions from several specialists before deciding on a course of treatment, ask for a list of doctors in that specialty. Getting several opinions can help you make the best decision for your circumstances.
We also provide referrals for physical therapists, rehabilitation programs, psychologists, dietitians, alternative medicine providers and other specialty services. If you ask for a referral to one of these services, check with your insurance company to make sure the service will be covered by your healthcare plan. You may have a different copay or coinsurance amount for specialists, so asking ahead of time will make it easier to plan your visit and ensure you have the coverage you need.
Open Access Practice
Building a good relationship with your primary care physician is one of the best things you can do for your health. That is why Chapel Hill Primary Care is an open access medical practice. You can use our online patient portal to check your test results, send a message to your primary care provider, schedule an appointment, or request a refill of your medication. This portal makes it easier for us to offer coordinated care among all of your medical service providers and enables you to maintain control of your health.