Family medicine offers complete family care |

Family medicine offers complete family care

Jen Fanning
Grand County Rural Health Network

The health care system seems to keep changing. Locally, we have practices that are closing, providers leaving and a new management agreement for our hospital system. Change can be scary. The Grand County Rural Health Network wants you to know that we are confident you still have great health care available in Grand County.

Grand County is fortunate to have six primary care practices with fantastic providers. All of our local doctors are board certified specialists in Family Medicine. That means the doctors offer ongoing, comprehensive health care for the individual and family. Family Medicine includes all ages from birth to death, both sexes, every disease, and looks at the whole person. Board certified doctors go beyond basic medical licensure with years of residency training and required continuing education and periodic recertification.

Family doctors regularly coordinate with specialists to manage your health. If you had a pediatric doctor for your child, you can confidently switch to a family practice doctor knowing they will communicate with pediatric specialists.

You may see different letters after family practice providers’ names: MD, DO, NP, or PA. A medical doctor, or MD, and a doctor of osteopathic medicine, or DO, attend four years of college, four years of medical school, a year of internship, and if they are board certified, additional years of full-time residency training.

A nurse practitioner, or NP, is an advanced practice registered nurse who has at least a master’s degree. NPs may also have specialties such as pediatric, adult, or family. In the State of Colorado, NPs often need to practice with an established connection with a doctor.

A physician’s assistant, or PA, is a healthcare professional licensed to practice medicine with a team of doctors. A PA has a master’s degree with medical and clinical training during studies.

Any of these providers could serve as your primary care provider and handle preventative care, illness and specialty care coordination for you and your family. If you need a provider, please think locally. If you already use a local provider, consider using them for your entire family.

Interview a potential provider to ensure a good fit. Questions to ask a provider: What is your philosophy on medicine (antibiotic usage, alternative medicine, etc)? Will I (or we) see just you or another doctor/NP/PA in the practice? Will your office send immunization reminders? How are emergencies or after-hours calls handled? What is the doctors’ experience with your family’s health issues?

Family Medicine is a great model for keeping you and your family healthy. This model is especially valuable in rural areas where the population may not support specialists.

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