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What Is a Primary Care Agency?

Erik J.J. Goserud
Erik J.J. Goserud

A primary care agency refers to any place or organization where primary care is given. The terms agency and primary care are sometimes vague in definition; therefore, it is easy to see how primary care agency can be interpreted in many ways. Primary care agencies work as the first point of contact for patients, treating basic illnesses and filtering patients to specialists as needed.

Primary care is an essential part of medicine. Modern medicine is shifting heavily toward a specialist model, with most new professionals flocking to specific, specialized fields. The need for a primary care agency and primary, or family, doctors and staff is great as they can help patients find the exact type of specialist they need. Although specialists may be great at their respective medical fields, they may not be as skilled at general diagnosis as a primary care provider.


An agency, by definition, is an organization or body of people who act like a business in providing a service. There are many different ways in which a primary care agency can fulfill this definition. Perhaps a small group of physicians and their clinical and administrative staff open an office in a rural setting. This could be considered a primary care agency. Also considered a primary care agency would be a renowned department of a hospital with scores of providers practicing primary care.

There is no limit to how large or how small a primary care agency can be. The only requirement is that they act in an organized fashion to provide primary care. There are a number of certifications and regulations required of these agencies, however, as an amateur doesn't really have a place in the practice of modern medicine.

Many routes for becoming involved in a primary care agency exist. A person who desires to be involved on the administrative side likely needs minimal experience or training. Providers likely require college degrees, with advanced practitioners requiring graduate school and certifications. Primary care agencies are businesses at the end of the day, except in rare circumstances. This business model allows opportunities for those specializing in business to become involved with such agencies.

Specialized clinics are becoming more and more popular as health care shifts toward more training in less fields. This specialization has advantages and disadvantages. The primary advantage is that providers know more about their fields, while the disadvantage is that they know less about other fields. Primary care providers are somewhere in the middle, having the broad base knowledge needed to practice medicine and find the right home for a patient whom they cannot treat.

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