Start with a primary care provider

Does your loved one see a primary care provider (PCP)?

Having a PCP can give your loved one (and you) a trusting, ongoing relationship with one medical professional over time—someone who is their main healthcare provider. While many PCPs are doctors, some are nurse practitioners, which is a nurse who can give a wide range of healthcare services and write prescriptions. See how a PCP fits into your loved one's care.

Why having a PCP matters

If your loved one has complicated medical needs, having a PCP is particularly important. Their PCP will lead the team of healthcare professionals caring for your loved one—which may include specialists, nurses, nutritionists, social workers, and behavioral health clinicians—and be your main point of contact.

A PCP also cares for your loved one by:

  • Giving regular check-ups
  • Recommending ways to live a healthy lifestyle
  • Providing care for illnesses, most chronic conditions, and minor injuries
  • Making referrals to medical specialists when needed

The PCP should always be your first call unless the situation is an emergency (always dial 911 for emergencies). There is a medical professional available 24 hours a day to answer questions and let your loved one know if they need to seek care immediately or can wait until the PCP’s office is open.

How to find a PCP

If your loved one doesn’t already have a PCP or would like to find a new one, use our Find a doctor tool to search by BCBSRI plan and location.

You may also want to consider looking for a patient-centered medical home. Many of Rhode Island’s largest groups of PCPs are now patient-centered medical homes, which offer an entire healthcare team all under one roof. They offer a higher level of care that includes:

  •  No-cost visits with a nurse care manager
    If your loved one needs help managing an ongoing health issue like diabetes or achieving a wellness goal such as losing weight, they can work with a nurse care manager.
  • No-cost visits with a pharmacist
    Some practices offer a pharmacist who will help your loved one review and understand their medications. The pharmacist can also offer suggestions for lowering medication costs. 
  • Extended hours
    Many practices have extended hours, including nights and weekends.
  • Classes
    They may offer classes and education on diabetes and other health issues.
  • An online patient portal
    Your loved one can view medical records, see lab results, and contact their practice–from wherever they are.

To find a patient-centered medical home, please call Customer Service at (401) 459-5000. You can also find a PCMH in the Find a doctor tool:

  • Search for “primary care.”
  • After you see the list of PCPs, click on the PCMH box under “Quality” on the left-hand side.
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