Select a Primary Care Provider

What is the difference between types of primary care doctors?

Typically, your primary care doctors will be identified as Family Practice, Internal Medicine or General Practice doctors. Choose the type that works best for you and your family.

  • Family Practice:
    • Has certification, or is board-eligible in the specialty of Family Practice and has completed specific training in Family Medicine
    • Treats patients of all ages, from birth to the elderly
    • Treats a wide variety of conditions, including those sometimes treated by specialists (OB/GYN, sports injuries, migraines, etc.)
  • Internal Medicine
    • Has certification, or is board-eligible in the specialty of Internal Medicine, and has completed specific training in Internal Medicine
    • Typically treats only adults
    • Treats a wide variety of general and chronic conditions, but does not typically treat serious injuries or diseases that may require specialized care (sports injuries, childbirth, serious neurological conditions, etc.)
  • General Practice
    • Typically refers to "family practice" doctors who received training before family practice became a certifiable specialty with specific training requirementse
    • May also include doctors who are osteopaths
    • May be more likely to not have board certification

List your needs.

  • Do you want your doctor's office to be near home or work?
  • What's the most convenient time of day for appointments?
  • Do you have a medical condition that requires a specialist?

Talk to friends and relatives.

  • Ask people you know and trust if they have any recommendations.
  • If you've just moved from out of town, ask your previous doctor for a recommendation.

Narrow your choices.

  • Use the CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield (CareFirst) provider directory to create a list of potential doctors.
  • Make sure they participate in your medical plan and are accepting new patients.
  • Research information about a provider.

Visit the doctor's office.

  • Set up an introductory visit
  • Is the staff attentive and organized?
  • Are phones answered in a reasonable amount of time?
  • Observe how long patients are waiting
  • Ask how far in advance you need to make appointments
  • What days and times does the doctor see patients?
  • Who provides care in the PCP's absence?
  • What hospital does the doctor admit patients to?

Review your decision.

After you've visited your new PCP, consider if you're happy with your choice. If not, you may want to consider a new PCP. CareFirst's medical plans allow you to change your PCP anytime during the plan year.