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It’s Time to Schedule a Back-to-School Well Visit

By: Dr. Doug Mitchell, Norfolk Pediatrics

As summer vacation begins, you are probably not thinking about back-to-school preparations. But there’s one step you should take care of today: scheduling your child’s annual well visit and sports physical. The sports physical form can be completed during the well visit with your child’s CHKD pediatrician, and for most insurance companies, there’s no co-pay or any other charge for this checkup.

Attending a mass-screening event at school or going to an urgent care center may seem like good ways to check this item off your to-do list, but there are usually costs involved. Even more important: School checkups and sports physicals should be done by your child’s primary pediatrician. (In fact, CHKD urgent care centers do not offer well visits sports physicals.)

Here are a few reasons why the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends seeing the pediatrician for these exams:

Your primary care physician will have your child’s complete medical record.

Seeing the same doctor year to year for physical exams means they’ll know your child’s history of past injuries and illnesses. Providers in an urgent care center may not be aware of your child’s medical history, and you or your child might forget to note incidents on a questionnaire when you see a new doctor. Plus, your child has a relationship with their pediatrician and might be more comfortable seeing a doctor they already know.

Your doctor will know your child’s history with sports.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends having a sports physical at least six weeks prior to the sports season, which allows enough time to correct any concerns or injuries. Your primary care doctor can access information from other specialists your child may have seen in the past, which could be crucial in determining whether it’s safe to play sports. Going to an urgent care center or mass sports physical event can lead to unnecessary follow-up visits with your primary doctor to clarify past issues. It’s best to see your primary care physician from the beginning.

Your child’s vaccination record will be accurate.

The National Vaccine Advisory Committee advises vaccinations be done in a primary care setting. Your regular doctor will have an accurate record of your child’s past immunizations and ensure that they receive the recommended vaccinations for the new school year. If you choose to update your child’s vaccinations elsewhere, this information won’t be added to their central medical record unless you bring documentation to your primary care office.

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About CHKD Medical Group

About CHKD Medical  Group Children’s Hospital of The King’s Daughters has been the region’s most trusted name in pediatric care for more than 50 years. As members of CHKD Health System, our pediatricians work closely with CHKD’s full range of pediatric specialists and surgeons. They also share a commitment to quality, excellence and child-centered care. With 18 practices in 29 locations throughout the region, a CHKD pediatrician is never far.