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The Difference Between Primary and Specialty Care

The Difference Between Primary and Specialty Care

There are many different types of healthcare out there, and it can be challenging to know which one is right for your specific situation and symptoms. With both a primary and specialty care clinic, Frances Mahon Deaconess Hospital is equipped to provide medical attention to the whole family when you need us most. But which department should you schedule a visit with?

Many patients may not be aware of the differences between clinics and the providers within them. Let's take a closer look at the Glasgow Primary and Specialty Care departments so you can fully understand their services.

Primary Care

Providers in primary care are often family doctors, internists, or nurse practitioners. These teams have a broad knowledge of the medical field in order to better serve your entire family. This clinic is where you will seek regular medical attention by scheduling annual wellness check-ups.

Everyone should have a trusted Primary Care Provider (PCP) who will have an overall view of their medical history, recurring symptoms, and overall health.

When to Visit Primary Care

At Frances Mahon Deaconess Hospital, our primary care team can provide you with routine check-ups, vaccinations, and screenings. You should also plan to visit your PCP when you are feeling sick or have any new symptoms. Even if you aren't sure if your symptoms warrant a trip to the doctor, it's always better to be safe than sorry!

Read More: Here’s Why You Need a Yearly Checkup

Your PCP will serve as a partner in your sexual and reproductive health, including your annual wellness exam, which may include a Pap smear, breast exam, and STD testing. They can also manage most pregnancies.

If you're experiencing new symptoms such as a rash or skin condition, nasal congestion, unexplained stomach pain, a persistent fever, ear pain, or prolonged coughing, it is a good idea to bring this to the attention of your PCP.

It's important to keep in mind that your primary care team is may not be equipped to handle more serious medical issues. If you are experiencing a life-threatening emergency, please call 911 or go to your nearest emergency room.

Specialty Care

While your PCP has a broad understanding of different medical conditions, providers in specialty care focus on specific areas of medicine. These physicians have focused their studies on certain medical disciplines so they can be better equipped to handle certain conditions.

These providers have focused their studies on certain medical disciplines so they can be better equipped to handle certain conditions.

At Frances Mahon Deaconess Hospital, we have a number of specialty care clinics, including:

When to Visit Specialty Care

If you are experiencing symptoms that are more serious in nature or are related to certain chronic conditions, you may need to see a specialist. Specialists are equipped to handle more complex cases and will be able to provide you with the expert care you need. They are often referred to you through your PCP.


You may need to see an OB/GYN specialist if you have a high-risk pregnancy, such as twins, or high blood pressure. You may be referred to OB/GYN if you’re having changes in your menstrual cycle, pelvic pain, or unusual vaginal discharge.


If you are dealing with any pain or injuries related to your bones, joints, or muscles, you may need to see an orthopedic specialist. These providers are experts in diagnosing and treating conditions such as arthritis, fractures, and tendonitis. You may also be referred to an orthopedic specialist if you are a candidate for total joint replacement surgery.

General Surgery

A general surgeon is a physician who specializes in surgical procedures. They are trained to perform both invasive and non-invasive surgeries. You may be referred to a general surgeon if you have a hernia, are in need of a biopsy, or require an appendectomy.

Primary & Specialty Care in Glasgow, MT

Whether you're in need of a PCP to guide you through your health journey, or require more medical attention from a specialist, Frances Mahon Deaconess Hospital has the right team for you. Discover more about the Glasgow Clinic Primary Care and Specialty Care departments, and schedule your first appointment with us by calling (406) 228-3500.