Every child must see pediatrician regularly
To the editor:
I enjoyed the article "Focus on urgent care" by Tony Dobrowolski on July 15. It recapped the history of urgent care centers in our area very well.
The quotes from M.D.'s did leave me with the impression that primary care providers were not considered necessary or accessible. Although this may be true for adults (I actually doubt they are not necessary for the significant proportion of the adult population which is overweight, diabetic, hypertensive, etc.), it is definitely not true for children.
ALL children need a primary care provider, and in our county we have an excellent selection of board-certified, well-trained pediatricians available for same day, urgent appointments as well as availability on weekends if needed. These are the same doctors, pediatric nurse practitioners and physician assistants that administer well-child checkups and immunizations throughout their patient's childhood.
These dedicated pediatricians and staff know their patients and families, have access to their health records, understand the family dynamics and can be supportive and helpful in so many ways that urgent care centers cannot be. And, if health care consumers and insurance companies want to spend their health dollars wisely, there is no better a cost effective encounter than with a pediatric office.
Pediatricians specialize in the care of infants, children, and adolescents. They are familiar with their patients and families, so many lab tests and x-rays can frequently be avoided during urgent visits. School and family problems and mental health issues are often reviewed.
I am recently retired as a practicing pediatrician in Berkshire County for over 35 years, and am obviously biased, but I feel the primary care pediatric community of health workers has done an excellent job for decades attending to the needs of children, and will always be a better, available resource for children and families than any urgent care center can be.
Now that "Focus on urgent care" has been written, perhaps a "Focus on pediatric care" article could follow. I am sure many pediatricians would be willing to contribute their perspective on what they do, their availability for urgent problems, and why their offices are far superior to visiting an urgent care center. It would be a shame to overlook such a dedicated and hard working group of health care workers.
Richard Rosenfeld, M.D., Richmond