The TEAM at Synergy Health understands the advantage of treating the whole person and coordinating care among all providers. To achieve this aim, we have chosen to refine our practice and seek NCQA (National Committee for Quality Assurance) recognition and formally become recognized as a Patient Centered Medical Home.
The NCQA standards of continuously improving the quality of patient care align with our mission to "Promote the Health and Wellness of Our Community."
We use health information technology to help monitor our performance. Of course we like to hear how we are doing from you too!
On behalf of the entire Synergy Team, we appreciate the opportunity to participate in your healthcare and the chance to exceed your expectations.
Click on the tabs below to learn more about our partnership with you to improve your health.
- What is Primary Care?
The short version: A healthcare provider participating in management of all your healthcare needs.
Primary care is the long-term relationship between a person and their clinician. The clinician provides care for most of their health needs and coordinates additional health care services beyond the clinician's area of expertise. The Institute of Medicine gave this definition for primary care in 1996: "Primary care is the provision of integrated, accessible health care services by clinicians who are accountable for addressing a large majority of personal health care needs, developing a sustained partnership with patients, and practicing in the context of family and community."
This definition is derived from the 1960s-era: Primary care may also be thought of as a level of care in the larger health-care system, to be distinguished from secondary care (care provided by community-based specialists and local community hospitals) and tertiary care (care provided by specialists at regional or academic health centers). In non-industrialized nations with limited health resources, primary care may be provided by village health workers, nurse-auxiliaires, promotoras, community health advisors, barefoot-doctors, etc.
In this context, physicians would be a scarce enough resource to qualify as secondary care, while regional hospitals might represent tertiary care. The World Health Organization provided a definition of primary care useful in this context during the Alma Ata Conference of 1978: "Primary health care is essential health care … made universally accessible to individuals and families in the community … through their full participation and at a cost that the community and country can afford."
Who Practices Primary Care? Both allopathic (M.D.) and osteopathic physicians (D.O.) in the disciplines of family practice, general internal medicine, and general pediatrics are universally acknowledged as primary care clinicians. Nurse practitioners (NPs, also known as Advanced-Practice Nurses) and physician assistants (PAs) practicing in these disciplines are also primary care clinicians. Physicians without residency training in a primary care discipline also may practice primary care as GPs (general practitioners). Specialists in preventive medicine sometimes also are listed as primary care clinicians, although these may consider the community to be their "patient."
Specialists in obstetrics and gynecology may or may not be listed as primary care clinicians, and here is the distinction - those who consider themselves to be the primary source of care for their female patients (i.e., they serve a person, not a cluster of female organs), and who can address the majority of those patients' needs (i.e., high blood pressure and osteoporosis as well as contraception and uterine fibroids), are practicing primary care. Those who consider themselves procedural specialists (delivering babies and doing GYN surgery) or specialists in problems of the female organs would not be practicing primary care.
What is Community-Oriented Primary Care? In 1985 the Institute of Medicine addressed the emerging field of Community Oriented Primary Care (COPC). The concept of COPC was built on the early work of Sidney and Emily Kark in Kwazulu-Natal, who attempted to build a primary care practice based on community health assessments at the individual, family, and community levels, and then to assess its own effectiveness by a continuing surveillance of those health status indicators. Modern practitioners of COPC may work at the individual practice-level, assessing the needs of their patients' community and attempting to design interventions to improve that health status. COPC also may provide the conceptual framework for systems of care for an entire metropolitan area, as demonstrated by the Parkland Memorial Health System's COPC model in Dallas, Texas.
IOM gave the following definition of COPC: Community-oriented primary care is the provision of primary care services to a defined community, coupled with systematic efforts to identify and address the major health problems of that community through effective modifications in both the primary care services and other appropriate community health programs (IOM, 1984, p. 2).
- Frequently Asked Questions
What is a family physician?
A family physician is trained in internal medicine, pediatrics, obstetrics and gynecology, dermatology, and office surgery. Board certification in family medicine requires at least three years of specialty training after medical school, ongoing medical education, and re-certification examinations every seven years.
What is a physician assistant?
A physician assistant (PA) is a health professional who is a college graduate and who has completed a two-year curriculum in basic sciences taught by physicians and PAs, followed by clinical practice and rotations through the medical specialties. Physician assistants are recognized as primary care providers and provide direct patient care for routine exams, including well baby exams and women’s health care; diagnose and treat common health problems; and order and interpret studies such as lab tests and x-rays. They are expert in the areas of prevention and guidance.
Are you accepting new patients?
Yes. Our team looks forward to partnering with you for your healthcare needs.
What is your billing policy?
Payment, including co-payment, is payable at the time of your visit unless other arrangements have been made in advance. For the convenience of our patients, we now accept Visa and MasterCard. If we participate in your insurance plan, we will bill your insurance company directly. You are responsible to pay deductibles as well as charges incurred for services that are not covered benefits of your insurance plan. If authorization is required for the visit, but cannot be obtained, you will be responsible for payment. Any outstanding balance owed after insurance payment is made is due as soon as FMA notifies you of the amount. If we do not participate in your plan, you will be responsible to pay all charges at the time of service. We will provide you with an itemized receipt, or other information as required, which you can submit to your insurance company. Please review your insurance plan prior to your visit. We make every effort to keep costs from affecting access to quality healthcare. Please contact us if your circumstances qualify for special assistance.
Do you perform labs in your office?
We perform basic CLIA waved testing in our office for your convenience. We are a draw center for several reference labs. Please let the staff know if your insurance requires use of a specific lab.
Is Synergy Health HIPPA compliant?
What hospitals are you affiliated with?
We have admitting privileges as Chatuge Regional Hospital and Union General Hospital. In addition we care for patients at Clay County Care Center, Hayesville House, and Chatuge Regional Nursing Home.
Do you make housecalls?
With special arrangements and circumstances, a provider may see you at your home.
What if I need a specialist?
Just because we are rural, it doesn't mean we are separated from quality care. There are a surprising amount of resources available, both through visiting specialists and telemedicine consultations. We also have close relationships with hospitals and providers in Gainesville, Atlanta, Asheville, and in between, should you need other specialty or tertiary care.
What do I do if I need to refill a prescription.
First, it is important that you keep your medication list up to date when you come in for a visit. That is also the best time to refill prescriptions. If you need something between visits, please allow 48 hours to complete your request.
Can you tell me more about your center as a teaching site?
Dr. Church is on faculty at the Mercer School of Medicine and Georgia Regents (Medical College of GA). We also occasionally have physican assistant and medical assistant students. Medical students at various phases of their training frequently may come here as part of their core requirements. Having students helps keep us on our toes and up to date. While most patients enjoy seeing a student on occasion, you certainly are not obligated to see a student. Regardless, having a student does not take away from you visit with the healthcare provider.