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The Role of the Primary Physician

Beverly C. Payne, MD, FACP
Am J Dis Child. 1968;116(5):468-471. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1968.02100020472003.
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IT IS bad form to begin by rejecting one's assigned title but I must register a dissent with the names given the physician about whom I address my remarks: "primary," "personal," "first contact," "general," "comprehensive," "continuing," and "family." He might even be called a "Millis" physician since the Millis Report1 was specifically concerned with this character. An excellent definition is also provided by the National Commission on Community Health Services (1966)2—"Every individual should have a personal physician who is the central point for integration and continuity of all medical and medically related services to his patient." "His concern will be for the patient as a whole and his relationship with the patient must be a continuing one."

The Commission, then, recognizes that a number of kinds of physicians are now serving such a role. Among them are general practitioners and such specialists as internists, pediatricians, obstetricians, and


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