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What’s a PCP?

PCP stands for “primary care provider.” If you have the MIT Affiliate Health Plan, you will choose a PCP at MIT Medical. Your PCP will be the clinician you see for most of your care. In some countries, PCPs are called “generalists,” because they can handle most of your healthcare needs.

Who are PCPs?

Your PCP may be a doctor or a nurse practitioner. Nurse practitioners are registered nurses who have completed a master’s degree. They have also passed a licensing exam that allows them to perform as a PCP. They can diagnose illnesses or injuries, order laboratory tests, develop treatment plans, and write prescriptions. Many nurse practitioners at MIT Medical have additional certifications in medical specialty areas or have other special skills in areas such as nutrition and women’s health.

What does a PCP do?

Your PCP is your personal clinician. You will make an appointment to see your PCP if you need a physical exam or if you have a non-emergency problem, like a cough that isn’t getting better or a minor injury. Your PCP can also help you take care of ongoing conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure, or acid reflux.

Sometimes your PCP may want you to see another kind of clinician for a more complicated problem—for example, a cardiologist for a heart problem or a dermatologist for a serious skin problem. Or your PCP may want you to have a diagnostic test at MIT Medical or at another clinic or a hospital. Then your PCP will request a referral. After the referral has been approved, you can make an appointment to see the specialist or have the test.

Read more about PCPs at MIT Medical.

See also: How to choose a PCP at MIT Medical.

Read more about referrals.