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The Importance of Having a Primary Care Physician
By Nancy Kennedy

Ashith MallyHaving a primary care physician is one of the most important ways to achieve and maintain good health. America’s primary care physicians are the front line of the health care system, providing preventive care, acute care and chronic care to patients who often have lifelong relationships with them. Those relationships are the heart of primary care, according to Ashith Mally, M.D., of Preferred Primary Care Physicians, Inc., (PPCP) who believes that a strong relationship can help keep the patient healthy. “When you have a doctor-patient relationship based on trust and respect, the patient is more likely to turn to you for guidance,” he states. “Guidance and good care from a primary care physician who knows you and your situation and has your best interests in mind can help you achieve good health, maintain good health, get through health challenges and age as vibrantly as possible.”

Dr. Mally is a board-certified internal medicine and primary care physician (PCP) who has been in practice in the U.S. since 1994.  Dr. Mally and his partners at PPCP provide preventive care, meaning health screenings, immunizations and annual exams intended to keep patients healthy – these measures help to identify risks and avoid problems by detecting early signs of diseases. Early detection of disease enables physicians to intervene in the beginning stages, when it is often easier to manage a problem and in some cases, to even reverse or cure it. Early detection of a problem such as cancer or heart disease can prevent more serious disease or complications later, which could result in pain, disability, greater expense and reduced quality of life.

In addition to preventive care, Dr. Mally and his partners treat patients with acute medical problems, such as infections and injuries. They diagnose, treat and manage diseases, relieve pain, educate, counsel, order diagnostic tests and when necessary, make referrals to specialists. They coordinate care when multiple specialists are involved, and act as the patient’s advocate. They help patients navigate the complexities of the healthcare system and direct their recovery when they have been ill. Ideally, says Dr. Mally, they view the patient as a partner, working collaboratively in order to individualize care as much as possible.

“Patients seek someone to guide them through the maze of the healthcare system,” Dr. Mally says. “Medical services are much more complicated today. I deal with patients in a personal way, and that is one of the best aspects of being a primary care physician. Relationships with patients are much stronger in primary care than in the other medical specialties, and I find this rewarding. So often, the patient just wants to talk – about their fears, losses, how things are going, and what worries them. These things are stressful; they can raise the blood pressure, cause GI problems or sleep disturbances. Maybe all the person needs is to talk it out and get reassurance. They have to trust me to be able to talk to me. When I know their situation and history, I can make a better diagnosis and be more helpful.

“I can also help more with preventive care. I’m big believer in eating nutritional foods and managing your weight. Eat correctly – it’s the first thing I say to my patients!”

Ultimately, a PCP provides a patient with a “medical home” – a base for their medical care, a place where they are known and where they receive the bulk of their care from a physician with whom they have a relationship. In addition to medical expertise, says Dr. Mally, a good PCP offers the sanctuary of relationship, personal wisdom, human warmth and the emotional support that can make medical experiences more bearable. 

Founded in 1995, PPCP has grown into one of the region’s largest primary care practices, with over 40 physicians, all board- certified in internal medicine or family practice, and about 20 CRNPs, providing the highest quality care in 13 locations. Dr. Mally, along with Walter Robison, M.D., Stephanie Colodny, M.D., Supritha Shetty, M.D., Jennifer White, CRNP and Sarah Urbanik, CRNP, practice at the Dormont-Brookline location and the McMurray location. PPCP physicians see patients at St. Clair Hospital, Canonsburg Hospital, McMurray Hills Manor Nursing Home, Friendship Village and Consulate of North Strabane. The practice also offers state-of-the-art outpatient centers for cardiac testing, sleep disorders, and headaches.

The McMurray location is in the St. Clair Hospital-Peters Township Outpatient Center at 3928 Washington Road. The Dormont-Brookline office is at 1039 Brookline Blvd.

To learn more, or to make an appointment, call (412) 561-3452 or visit www.ppcp.org.

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