Event canceled due to snow: Health insurance is just the start to good health

Securing health insurance is important to maintaining good health, but being “covered” is only part of the journey to overall wellness.

As people age, they need to be regularly checked for potential health issues and need a professional to guide them through the healthcare landscape.

To help individuals understand Access Health CT — the state’s health insurance exchange — and the importance of having a primary care physician, Griffin Hospital will host “Health Insurance: Get It and Get the Most Out of It” on Tuesday, Dec. 17 at 6 p.m. in the hospital’s Meditation and Learning Center, 130 Division St., Derby.

(UPDATE AT 10:30 A.M.: Tonight's event had been canceled due to inclement weather.)

Led by certified health insurance assister Margaret Sessa, RN, and Dr. Shyla Muriel of Griffin Hospital Faculty Physicians, the free talk will provide information on Access Health CT and the benefits of establishing a “medical home” with a primary care physician.

Attendees also can receive a free blood pressure screening and consultation at the event. To reserve a spot or for more information, call 203-732-1511 or visit griffinhealth.org.

Primary care physician

Unlike medical specialists who primarily focus on a particular part of the body or health issues, primary care physicians have the overall knowledge and flexibility to shape their services to fit the unique needs of their patients.

In addition to delivering basic medicine in an office setting, primary care physicians receive training in hospital-based medicine, including critical care and obstetrical procedures.

This range of experience allows primary care physicians to care for their patients as entire persons. They get to know their patients personally and understand their patients’ medical history so they can recognize changes in a patient’s health and provide one-on-one information about preventative care or how to manage chronic illness.

They’re in your corner

Primary care physicians are your medical point persons when it comes to finding a specialist. If you have concerns about different treatment suggestions from specialists, a primary care physician can answer your questions and help you decide which approach works best for you.

This relationship between your primary care physician and specialists is called a “medical home” because the primary care physician establishes a relationship with your specialists and keeps track of your care with them.

Prevention saves time and money

Regular check-ups and having a consistent healthcare provider helps you keep track of changes in your health, which can lead to more efficient care.

With all of the health news and medical product marketing out there, a primary care physician can cut through the noise and give you direct answers about what you need and what is proven to work.

Having a consistent relationship with a primary care physician can also help you get care more quickly if you get sick — possibly resolving medical issues over the phone or via email.

Get checked out

In addition to the free talk, members of Griffin Hospital’s Valley Parish Nurse Program will provide free blood pressure screenings and consultation on Dec. 17.

Blood pressure is considered one of the most important health screenings a person can get, since high blood pressure has no symptoms and can’t be detected without being measured. High blood pressure greatly increases your risk of heart disease and stroke — two of the largest causes of natural death in the country.

About Tuesday Talks

“Health Insurance: Get It and Get the Most Out of It” is part of Griffin Hospital's Healthy U Tuesday Talks, a series of free wellness talks featuring Griffin Hospital medical experts and community partners providing health information and answers to questions on a wide range of topics.

To find out about upcoming Tuesday Talks, visit griffinhealth.org/programsevents.

Christian Meagher is a communications specialist at Griffin Hospital in Derby.