PCPs: Our Partners in the Fight Against COVID-19

Female doctor doing medical exam to a senior woman at her home

Primary care physicians have always been an important part of managing personal health. Scheduling annual wellness exams with your PCP is one of the best ways to stay healthy, and it’s especially important now with COVID-19 in our community.

PCPs help us to understand our health history and uncover any existing health conditions like diabetes or cardiovascular disease, which is information proving to be crucial in a COVID-19 world.

“People with underlying health conditions are at greatest risk of hospitalization and more severe illness from the virus,” said Dennis Jensen, MD, family medicine physician at AdventHealth Medical Group Primary Care at Prairie Star. “Having a primary care physician allows individuals to have their chronic conditions monitored and optimized, preventing more severe illness from COVID-19.”

Your PCP is your personal wellness expert, and having an expert on your side is always a good idea especially when you are sick. If you think you may have COVID-19, your PCP can make arrangements for you to get tested, offer calm advice if you are worried and coordinate care if needed.

“The symptoms of COVID-19 overlap with many other illnesses and can be challenging to diagnose,” said Jensen. “Having a PCP allows patients to have a close contact who can quickly assess symptoms.”

Some experts believe COVID-19 may spike again in the fall so now is the time to think about how best to prepare yourself. Jensen’s top two recommendations – get the seasonal flu vaccine and see your primary care physician if it’s been a while (or get a PCP if you don’t have one) to make sure you are well as we go into cold and flu season.

As a health care provider, Jensen appreciates those within the Kansas City area who have played their part in flattening the curve during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, it’s important to remember that the virus still exists in our community and Jensen says it’s important to continue precautions as we begin relaxing stay-at-home orders.

“Social distancing and proper hand washing remain paramount in preventing the spread of COVID-19,” said Jensen. “Persons at highest risk such as the elderly, immune compromised or those who have other chronic illnesses such as asthma or COPD should consider masking while in public for the foreseeable future.”

AdventHealth Shawnee Mission offers eight primary care clinics throughout Johnson County. To find a primary care physician who’s right for you, visit MyHealthKC.com.