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Family Practice Definitions

A family or general practice doctor cares for the health needs of people of all ages and genders. Unless you need to see a specialist, when you go to the doctor's office you will generally be seeing a family practice physician. The following are some terms you will come across when going to the doctor's office.

  • Clinic – A medical health center that is dedicated to the care of outpatients, those who do not need hospital care. Most family care practices offer the same services as clinics.
  • Appointment – To meet with a family doctor or nurse practitioner you will need to set up a date and time with their office, as most practices discourage walk-ins. If you are sick, however, you can usually make an appointment to see the doctor that day.
  • Health Insurance – Insurance that covers the cost of treatment for illness or injury. While making an appointment to see the doctor, confirm that they do accept your insurance. Most insurances will also provide you a list of family and general practice doctors you can use.
  • Exam – Family doctors are licensed to provide tests to diagnose illness or health. While most simple tests can be done within the practice, such as blood and urine tests, some medical conditions may need referral to see a specialist.
    American Academy of Family Physicians
    Leawood, KS 66211
    If you are interested in starting a family or general medical practice, consider enrolling in our academy. Providing educational resources for any doctor looking to start a general or family practice.
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    David A Cummings DO
    4079 Electric Rd, Roanoke, VA 24018
    (2) Reviews Write a review
    (540) 989-5594
    User Review: "I've been going to dr. Cummings for years. While no doctor is perfect, please remember that, he has been a help to me and..."
    Oscar P Gosien MD
    94 Lamplighter St, Oak Hill, WV 25901
    (304) 465-5668
    Oar Medical
    1007 S Oakwood Ave, Beckley, WV 25801
    (304) 250-0004
    Family Medical Center
    25 Mallard Ct, Beckley, WV 25801
    (304) 255-2527
    Access Health
    252 Rural Acres Dr, Beckley, WV 25801
    (304) 252-8555
    Louis W Groves MD Jr
    480 Hanna Farm Rd, Summersville, WV 26651
    (304) 872-4077
    William L Harris MD
    3100 Maccorkle Ave Se Ste 307, Charleston, WV 25304
    (304) 344-2451
    Mely C Lim MD
    8 Courtney Dr, Charleston, WV 25304
    (304) 926-0940
    University Health Associates
    301 Elk River Rd S, Clendenin, WV 25045
    (304) 548-7272
    Wvu Physicians of Charleston
    3200 Maccorkle Ave Se, Charleston, WV 25304
    (304) 388-1000
    Linger Robert T Jr
    4715 Maccorkle Ave Se, Charleston, WV 25304
    (304) 343-9588
    Mountain State Medical Assoc
    300 Kenton Dr, Charleston, WV 25311
    (304) 346-5533
    Mountain State Spine & Health
    4914 Elk River Rd S, Elkview, WV 25071
    (304) 965-7051
    Mountain State Spine & Health
    4902 Elk River Rd S Ste A, Elkview, WV 25071
    (304) 965-7051
    Charleston Family Group Practice Inc
    1201 Washington St E Ste 201, Charleston, WV 25301
    (304) 342-8522

    If you or a family member is sick, generally you will see a doctor at his or her office. Whether you go to a general medical practice or a family physician is up to your preference. The terms used to be synonymous in the health profession, but they are no longer the same. After World War II, medical sub specialties became more popular and many physicians left general practice. It was thought that four years of undergraduate school, four years of medical school, and one year of internship was not enough training to properly practice medicine. Three year residency programs were added for additional training and to allow candidates to take board certification exams. General health practitioners still exist to some degree, but they are usually referred to as internal medicine. Family doctors are trained to treat people of all ages and usually serve as primary care physicians at their clinics. They often have a staff or nurses available to help gather information and perform basic tests including temperature and blood pressure, though the formal diagnosis is always performed by the doctor. If a patient infected with bacteria, doctors will prescribe antibiotics, but will generally tell you to gather over the counter medications for a virus, like the flu. They'll also know whether the patient needs to be sent to another facility for additional testing, like x rays or blood work. It's common to need an appointment in order to see the physician at his or her center and though insurance isn't always necessary, it does severely reduce costs for the patient.
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