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General Practitioners


While "family doctors" or the "general doc" have been a part of the health care picture ever since medicine began, today's efforts to control health care costs have led insurance companies to the increased use of Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs) and Preferred Provider Organizations (PPOs). These plans often limit the use of specialists, making subscribers seek care first from a primary care physician. Because of this, patients who might once have gone directly to a specialist without seeing a general practitioner must now see their general practitioner first in order to get a referral to see a specialist.

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