Types of PCPs

Who’s Who in Primary Care

If you’re looking for health care providers, congratulations. It’s a very important part of taking good care of yourself. Here’s a quick look at the various types you can choose.

Family Medicine

Family practitioners generally treat patients of all ages, but some may limit their practice to certain age groups. Doctors in this specialty are trained in several basic medical disciplines including internal medicine, pediatrics, obstetrics, gynecology, general surgery and psychiatry.

Internal Medicine/Geriatrics

Internists generally treat adult patients. Some may treat adolescents. They may have a specialty within internal medicine and can perform some surgeries, but not major surgery.

Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine

These doctors specialize in the general medical care for infants and children. Some treat adolescents and young adults. Most can perform some simple surgeries.

Obstetrician/Gynecologist (OB/GYN)

Many women use OB/GYNs as their primary care doctor (PCP) as well as for specialized care. Some insurance plans will accept them as PCPs; others do not. OB/GYNs can perform some surgeries, such as caesarian sections.

Geriatric Medicine

Geriatricians provide both general and specialized care for seniors. They have special training in the complex disorders that occur commonly in seniors, such as depression, memory impairment, urinary incontinence, falling and gait disorders, and “failure to thrive.” Their expertise is particularly important when functional problems may be caused or worsened by the interaction of multiple medical problems and multiple medications.


A certified nurse-midwife is educated in the two disciplines of nursing and midwifery and cares for women during the childbearing years. They can provide basic gynecological services, such as yearly breast and pelvic exams and pap smears, as well as assist with childbirth. They may also provide care for healthy women in the peri-menopausal years.

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