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Am J Manag Care. 1998 Feb;4(2):249-54.

The neonatologist as primary care physician.

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Section of Neonatology, Department of Pediatrics, Medical College of Georgia, Augusta 30912-3700, USA.


Although trained first as pediatricians, neonatologists are not typically viewed as primary care physicians. However, given their particular training and expertise, patient population, and interaction with families as the newborn's first physician in many settings, neonatologists may rightly be viewed as the most appropriate primary care physician for newborns with medical or surgical problems. We review the fundamental underpinnings of primary care medicine with particular attention to how the neonatologist functions in such capacities. Neonatologist can contribute greatly to ensuring continuity of care for the sick newborn, the comprehensive nature of that care, and the coordination of care. Neonatologists' interactions with elements of the community to which the newborn will be discharged are an asset, as is their ability to work as part of a team. Given recent changes in practice management, the availability of neonatologists in the United States, and the desire for full-service mother and infant care capabilities in community hospitals, the primary care role of neonatologists bears recognition and support in today's changing healthcare marketplace.

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