Primary care is your first stop for health care
MaineHealth family medicine, internal medicine and pediatric care providers offer convenient, patient-centered care that fits your busy schedule. From newborns to older adults, we focus on your overall health and well-being, not just a single problem or illness. We are here to answer your health questions, provide preventive care, order tests, prescribe medications, help you manage chronic conditions and access specialty care when needed.
Where to Find Care
Primary Care FAQs
Both medical doctors (MD) and doctors of osteopathy (DO) are physicians who practice medicine. MDs and DOs complete similar levels of education and training. They also share the same health care goals: to help you maintain your well-being and to diagnose and treat injuries and disease. Both MDs and DOs work in similar settings:
- Doctor's offices
- Health care companies
DOs undergo special training in osteopathic manipulation. Osteopathic manipulation is a hands-on approach for treating some types of pain like lower back pain or headaches. DOs use their hands to place pressure or movement on your muscles. This requires extra training about the bones and muscles that make up your body (skeletal system).
Both MDs and DOs must take an exam to become certified to practice medicine in their state. Many doctors also go on to become certified in their area of medicine. Both MDs and DOs must complete extensive education and training to practice medicine.
- Undergraduate education: four years at a college or university
- Undergraduate medical education: an additional four years of education at a medical school to earn an MD or at a college of osteopathic medicine to earn a DO
- Residency: three to seven years of training (depending on the specialty chosen) under the supervision of attending physicians
- Fellowships: additional training for doctors who want to go on to practice a subspecialty (for example, an internal medicine doctor may go on to complete a fellowship in cardiology, gastroenterology, or another subspecialty)
- Continuing education: ongoing education for all doctors who continue to learn through courses and trainings
MaineHealth advanced practice providers (APPs) evaluate, diagnose and treat patients of all ages. APPs are nationally-certified, state-licensed and highly-skilled medical professionals who may serve as your primary care provider (PCP). APP roles include:
- Physician Assistants (PAs): PAs are medical professionals who diagnose illness, develop and manage treatment plans, prescribe medications, and often serve as a patient’s primary health care provider.
- Nurse Practitioners (NPs): NPs are registered nurses who have also completed their master’s or doctoral degree and have additional advanced clinical training. Didactic and clinical courses prepare NPs with specialized knowledge and clinical competency to practice in primary care, acute care and long-term health care settings. A nurse practitioner may diagnose, manage and treat patients, and may also serve as the patient’s primary health care provider.
- Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs): CRNAs are registered nurses with advanced, graduate-level training in providing anesthetics to patients in every practice setting, and for every type of surgery or procedure.
The patient-centered medical home (PCMH) is a health care delivery model of care that puts patients at the forefront. PCMHs build better relationships between patients and their clinical care teams. Research shows that PCMHs improve quality and the patient experience, and increase staff satisfaction—while reducing health care costs. Practices that earn recognition have made a commitment to continuous quality improvement and a patient-centered approach to care.
National Committee for Quality Assurance
PCMH recognition is obtained through an evaluation process with the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA). The steps in this process are the most widely-used method to transform primary care practices into medical homes. Recognition is the result of proven transformation into a high-performing primary care practice. Visit NCQA Report Cards to view a complete list of MaineHealth practices that have received PCMH designation.
From childhood vaccines to helping seniors stay active, MaineHealth gives people the tools and support they need to live healthier lives.