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When should I find a primary care provider?

Sanford Worthington Medical Center
Sanford Worthington Medical Center

WORTHINGTON — It can be tough to know when it’s the right time to find a primary care provider.

Before we talk about that, it’s important to know what exactly a primary care provider is.

Numerous Sanford Health providers have referred to a primary care provider as the “quarterback” of your health care needs. They help you to navigate and make the right decision that best suits you and your family’s needs.

So, when is the right time to start a huddle and chat with your quarterback?

If you ask Worthington-based Sanford Health family medicine specialist Kevin Ree, D.O., it’s as soon as possible.


“You never know what acute health issue will arise. Not having a go-to physician or clinic can only increase the stress of the situation,” he said, adding that a primary care physician can help you catch problems before they arise.

“Primary care clinicians are also responsible for a lot of your preventative health needs, such as cancer screenings and immunizations, and can help you stay up to date on what is recommended,” he said.

When looking for a primary care provider, things to consider include:

  • If the clinic and clinicians are in a patient’s insurance network
  • Which clinic location works best for a patient’s family?
  • Does the clinician have similar philosophies as you, the patient?

Looking at a provider’s online profile can help a patient decide if that provider is the right one for them.
“If you have a complicated, chronic medical problem, you may want to confirm that the provider is comfortable managing it prior to establishing,” Dr. Ree said.

Come prepared and patient
It’s perfectly natural for a prospective patient to feel overwhelmed. It can feel like a daunting process. The most important thing to consider is if the provider “seems like they would be a good fit for you,” Dr. Ree said.

“Once you set up the appointment, try to set an agenda of things you are concerned about this way you can go over them with your provider. Keep in mind that depending on the concerns, there may not be time to address them all, but close follow-up can always be made to continue the discussion,” he said.

Dr. Ree said if it’s been a while since a patient has seen a provider, the provider may have suggestions for a patient’s health.

“Cancer screenings, lab work, or vaccinations are a few. These don’t have to be done one at a time. They can be spread out over several appointments if they appear overwhelming,” he explained.


To schedule an appointment with a primary care provider at Sanford Worthington Clinic, call 372-3800.

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