Make your health primary

Written by Karen Carlson, SIU School of MedicineGeneral
Do you have a primary care physician? If you do, you probably understand how important your doctor is in keeping you healthy, especially if you have a chronic condition such as diabetes, asthma, cancer or heart disease. “Primary care” physicians are the name for doctors who work in family medicine, internal medicine or pediatrics.
Studies show that people are less likely to be hospitalized and on average, have 33% lower health care costs when they have the help of a primary care physician. Not only can these primary care doctors help individual patients, but they also help the entire health care system. Fewer patients in the hospital means lower health care costs, and these patients can stay employed longer and lead healthier, happier lives.
State and national health care issues need physician expertise. “Health is Primary” is a new campaign sponsored by the nation’s eight family medicine organizations aimed to create a strong primary care system and meet the health care challenges our nation faces.
healthisprimaryToday, May 19, family physician leaders are uniting in Chicago under the Family Medicine for America’s Health partnership to deliver the “Health is Primary” message to the public and to health care leaders. Health is Primary – every individual must make their health needs primary in order to be a better worker, parent, boss, friend and person.  And every nation, state and municipality needs to put primary care on the forefront of their strategy to address health care problems and costs.
Dr. Janet Albers, chair of family medicine at SIU School of Medicine, is talking about the Community Health Center at SIU that helps provide primary care as well as desperately needed mental health services. SIU is a model for the state and the nation.
Dr. Albers also is working with other doctors to improve the regulatory and reporting burdens that are barriers to providing the best care for all patients. Only family physicians are trained to provide most of the care that a person may need, all under one roof.  That’s effective, efficient and what we need to succeed. But some physicians aren’t paid for the services they provide to patients. Supporting primary care means ensuring doctors’ practices have the financial support to provide the services in the community.
albers fcmCaring for patients in the community reduces emergency and hospital costs and brings better health outcomes. Patients with several conditions require a team-based primary care solution. Let’s make sure that we have that for today and the future.  Learn more at
Need a primary care physician? Contact SIU’s Center for Family Medicine.
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