I've been seeing a therapist for depression and I've been requested to get a physical done so I can have my vitamin D, testosterone levels and thyroid checked. Unfortunately I live in a rural area where there are not nearly enough doctors and I have exhausted all efforts to try to find a primary care physician to establish myself with. It's gotten so bad our local insurance provider has stopped fielding phone calls asking for support finding a primary care physician.

It's been suggested to me by several offices to get the tests done that I need at our local Urgent Care center, which I can do, but... what happens if they find something that needs treatment? I do not have a doctor. What would possibly be my next step in that situation?

  • 2
    Your question is rather borderline off topic, but it's not clearly off topic so I'm going to answer it even though I'll probably get downvoted because I can't think of any sources to cite to support my answer.
    – Carey Gregory
    Aug 3 '17 at 1:11
  • you don't mention where you live, I'm guessing the USA. In Ontario walk-in clinics will order tests and ask you to come back the next time that doctor is working a shift so you can discuss results and next steps. It's awkward but does sort of work. Aug 3 '17 at 13:52
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    This is something that differs based on location, but it's a legitimate question, and I agree with the answer.
    – DoctorWhom
    Aug 6 '17 at 9:11
  • Thanks for the information and advice! I do indeed live in the USA. I was able get in with a primary care physician but I couldn't get an appointment until December. I love living here (coastal northern CA) but the health situation is pretty dire. Our biggest clinic just lost three doctors. Feels like everyone is leaving the country.
    – agradine
    Aug 7 '17 at 15:08

Then the physician at the urgent care center will either treat you or refer you to someone who can. Just because it's an urgent care center doesn't mean the physicians there don't have a duty to act or can't provide followup care. In fact, in an area like yours with a shortage of doctors, I would imagine they're accustomed to situations like this and handle it routinely.

  • 1
    +1. In healthcare shortage areas, ER/UC do often end up becoming Primary Care. If you present to the UC and give them your symptoms including depression and express your concern about causes of secondary depression and your inability to get tested anywhere else, they may do it there. Btw @agradine, if depression is your only symptom then you're certainly correct checking for thyroid dysfunction, but testosterone is not usually first line in testing, and Vit D has lower evidence for strength of association with depression - so they may not do those. Depends on the clinician.
    – DoctorWhom
    Aug 6 '17 at 9:19

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