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Is it time for a checkup?

Last Modified: May 29, 2020

Family Medicine


As more and more services open up after being suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic, healthcare providers are encouraging patients to resume regular well-being practices. Parkview Health has implemented new cleaning measures and procedures to ensure the safety of all patients, visitors and caregivers, whether they are displaying coronavirus symptoms or not. In this post, Amy Rowan, PA, PPG – Family Medicine, Grabill, reminds adult patients of the importance of routine checkups with their provider as a means for prevention and early intervention.

How often should you see your provider for prevention?

While annual checkups for healthy individuals who never see their doctor otherwise are adequate, some emerging guidelines recommend clinicians provide preventative care at every visit instead of the "annual checkup". Either way, if you don’t typically see your doctor, an annual checkup is beneficial. If you see the doctor every 3 months, it's reasonable to ask your provider if the preventative care you receive at these visits is sufficient, thus saving yourself an additional appointment. 

Regardless of your situation, no adult should go longer than three years without seeing their primary care provider. In fact, after this amount of time, many offices will automatically assume you are no longer a patient of that provider. (This is a measure in place to account for patients who moved or transferred care without notifying the physician’s office). So, in addition to missing out on potentially beneficial medical care, you also have to wait in line for a “new patient” slot, which can take some time, depending on the provider.

What constitutes a checkup?

Checkups are also called physicals or preventative visits. These are not your typical office visits, when you might review medications or address your illness or shoulder pain. Preventative visits are long enough to review your general health (overall well-being), risk factors (things to look out for) and what can be done to prevent problems from arising later.

Because these preventative visits differ from a typical office visit, the cost/coverage is often different than your typical co-pay. Covering a healthy person is often cheaper for your insurance, so some insurance companies offer a free preventative visit once a year to help keep their clients well. Some even require it or give a discount. Check with your insurance provider for specifics about your individual plan.

Unfortunately, there are some conditions that are frankly inevitable despite preventative measures. But seeing a family doctor can help catch these issues early, which often improves outcomes and potentially limits cost and medication. For example, if we catch diabetes early, it can be reversed! If we catch it late, it's often a matter of doing damage control with multiple and sometimes expensive treatments.

Your homework for today is to go back and look up the last time you saw your physician for a general checkup. Is it time to schedule an appointment? Make the time for preventative care today so you can have a healthier tomorrow.

Need a doctor?

Call the Parkview Access Center at (877) PPG-TODAY or (877) 774-8632 to find a provider in your area.


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