Many of us don't know where to turn when something goes wrong with our health.

Is this rash serious?

Is there something I can do about my sore back?

Should I be worried about this pain in my chest?

Do I have the cold, flu or COVID-19?

A primary care physician, or PCP, is your home base for all these and many more issues.

“We are trained to diagnose and manage most common issues,” said Joseph Z. Wiley, MD, CAMC Primary Care. “For anything beyond my scope of practice, I can get you in with the appropriate specialist. Having a PCP means no longer wondering where to go or what to do in these situations.”

A primary care doctor is who you visit for most medical needs. Some patient-primary care relationships can span decades; this relationship is an important one.

“Many West Virginians have several medical problems,” Wiley said. “A PCP is familiar with all of his patient’s medical problems. There’s a level of trust that develops with the relationship. A doctor who knows you will be better equipped to help you than a doctor who doesn't. Having a PCP means having peace of mind that there is a doctor who knows you specifically, and can treat you as the unique individual that you are.”

Primary care services cover a range of prevention, wellness and treatments for common illnesses.

PCPs are especially well equipped to prevent long-term medical problems, or to catch them early enough so that they can be nipped in the bud. Diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol can be very difficult and very expensive to deal with if they go unnoticed for a long period of time.

“They say an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and it's true,” Wiley said. “Having a PCP means having reassurance that someone is keeping a close eye on your health and can give you the best chance at a long, healthy life.”

“Having a PCP in your corner to find and manage problems means you can stop them from becoming worse problems, which can save you a lot of suffering and a lot of money,” Wiley said.