What is Primary Care?

Service Line Leaders

Michael R. Grey, M.D., M.P.H., Physician Leader
Michael R. Grey, M.D., M.P.H.
Physician Leader

Listen to Our Patients


BestCare for Our Patients

Not long ago, the primary care physician may have been called your family doctor, or maybe your general practitioner. He or she was the doctor who patients generally called first for routine physicals, immunizations, minor ailments and follow-up care for chronic diseases, such as diabetes.

Although the job of primary care physicians is a bit more complex these days, they still are the first stop for most people in need of medical attention.

Primary care includes health promotion, disease prevention, health maintenance, counseling, patient education, diagnosis and treatment of acute and chronic illnesses in a variety of health care settings including the doctor’s office, the hospital, a nursing home, at home, even in daycare, school or college. Primary care is performed and managed by a personal physician often collaborating with other health professionals. When appropriate, the primary care physician makes a referral to a specialist.

Primary care provides patient advocacy in the health care system to better coordinate patient care. Primary care promotes effective communication with patients and encourages the role of the patient as a partner in healthcare.

High tech PhysicianResearch and Innovation to Improve the Nation's Health

Primary care at Saint Francis reflects our mission: commitment to health and healing through excellence, compassionate care and reverence for the spirituality of each person. But our work extends beyond providing the best possible care to individual patients. Saint Francis, in partnership with the University of Connecticut School of Medicine, also is leading an effort to improve the nation's health by improving the quality of primary care education and increasing the primary care workforce, to ensure that care is accessible to everybody who needs it. To achieve this goal, we have created the Connecticut Institute for Primary Care Innovation (CIPCI). The institute is based at Saint Francis and has four aims: improving primary care education for medical students and residents, increasing retention of primary care trainees and physicians, conducting groundbreaking research on the best ways to deliver primary care and providing service to the community of practicing primary care physicians by helping them keep pace with change.

Building Stronger Communities

Already, progress is being made. Recently, the Gengras internal medicine practice and the Burgdorf /Bank of America internal medicine and pediatric practices received national recognition as Patient-centered Medical Homes. This makes them the first hospital-based clinics in Connecticut to receive this recognition. They join 14 other Saint Francis-affiliated practices that have also received this distinction. Providing high-quality primary and preventive care is intrinsic to our mission to provide care to all patients, especially those who may not have access to regular, high quality healthcare. In doing so, we strengthen the communities in which we live and serve.