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The New Family Doctor

It’s no secret that our current healthcare system can be frustrating. Doctors and patients feel appointments are often rushed. Information isn’t always shared. Knowing which doctor to see can be confusing. But there’s something you may not know: In Rhode Island, a movement is underway to make healthcare the way it should be—simple!

Over the last several years, Blue Cross has been working with Rhode Island’s largest groups of primary care doctors (often called “family doctors”) to help make healthcare more convenient, safe, and affordable. We call this “Advance Primary CareSM.” These dedicated doctors are listening to their patients and changing their offices to be the single, convenient source for all of your healthcare needs. In this new kind of primary care, a team of medical professionals are now available to you along with your primary care doctor.

Putting You First

Here’s how the new Advance Primary Care can make a difference for you:

  • Get help when you need iteven on nights and weekends.
    Waiting months to see a new doctor or needing care on a weekend morning can leave you with little choice but to go to an emergency room or urgent care center. Both are expensive and can take much longer than a regular doctor’s visit! Some primary care doctors are now offering “sick” visits on nights and weekends. “Our patients really like our Saturday hours,” says Dr. Tom Bledsoe, a primary care doctor with University Medicine. “We can see pretty much everyone who wants an appointment.” And what if you need care when the office is closed? Some practices have a doctor who answers the phone 24 hours a day (instead of having an answering service that will have the doctor call you back).
  • Have more time to ask questions and get instructions.
    Your doctor has a pretty limited amount of time to influence your health and behavior,” says Dr. Bledsoe. “Now we have resources right in the office to help if needed. Between doctor visits, you may see a nutritionist, a mental health counselor, and/or the nurse care manager.” Some primary care offices also have a pharmacist on site.
  • Save time (and frustration) by not repeating your medical history.
    By using electronic health records, your advanced primary care team can eliminate the need to fill out paper-based forms and can quickly see health issues, family history, and lab test results. They can also find drug interactions and send prescriptions electronically to the pharmacy. Electronic health records also improve communication between your doctors. This means you won’t need to retake lab tests when seeing another doctor for a related problem—which can protect your health and save you money.
  • Be reminded about needed tests and screenings.
    Maintaining a recommended schedule of health screenings is an important step in staying healthy. However, understanding and remembering which screenings you should receive can be a challenge. That’s why your team will reach out to you before your appointment so you can complete labs and screenings. Dr. Bledsoe says, “If you need a test done, we have someone on the team help arrange for it. We then follow up to make sure that you had the test and that we received the results.” Your healthcare team will also make sure you know the results and have a chance to talk about them.

At Blue Cross, we believe strongly that this type of care helps improve the health of our members. That’s why we provide significant funding to primary care offices to support nurse care managers, extended hours, electronic health records, and more. 

How to find an Advance Primary Care practice

Many of Rhode Island’s largest groups of primary care doctors are now Advance Primary Care practices. Find convenient, high-quality care by choosing a doctor associated with one of these practices:

To find an Advance Primary Care practice near you, please call Customer Service at (401) 459-5000.