Specialist in Internal Medicine
Doctor Walter Parkhurst graduated from The Medical College of Virginia, Richmond, in 1974, where he completed his internship and residency program from 1974-1977. He has been Board Certified in Internal Medicine since 1977 and in 1990 became Board Certified in Geriatrics. In 2003, Dr. Parkhurst became a Certified Medical Director for long-term care facilities. After residency, Dr. Parkhurst began his career as an Emergency physician at Henrico Doctors Hospital in Richmond, Virginia. He then began a solo practice in 1978 in Chattanooga and in 1981 joined North Chattanooga Medical Associates. He has served as the Medical Director for Life Care Centers Skilled Nursing facilities. He joined Galen Medical Group in 1993 and has simultaneously practiced and held many corporate positions, including President and Corporate Medical Director. Dr. Parkhurst is currently Galen Medical Group’s Medical Director and sits on many corporate committees. He has been married to his wife, Carolyn, for 35 yrs, and they have two sons and 1 grandson. Dr. Parkhurst is an active member of First Presbyterian Church in Chattanooga and enjoys singing in their choir and attending the Chattanooga Symphony. He is also an avid student of geography and history.
4980 Alpha Lane
Hixson, TN 37343
The goal of medical care is to help the patient function at their highest potential throughout life, and to limit the time of debility at the end of life. A doctor/patient relationship requires mutual trust and cooperation in order to work toward these goals. Physicians through training and experience acquire knowledge and skills, but wisdom and compassion are needed for the best care outcome.
M.D. | Medical College of Virginia, Richmond, VA
Certification | Internal Medicine and Geriatric Medicine Certified Medical Director (American Medical Directors’ Association)
Board Certified in Internal Medicine
Board Certified in Geriatrics
American Medical Directors Association
American Medical Association
Tennessee Medical Association
Christian Medical and Dental Association
Tennessee Association of Long Term Care Physicians
American Geriatric Association
Medical Group Managers Association
American College of Physicians
Chattanooga Medical Society
Our primary care physicians specializing in internal medicine, a discipline focused on the care of adults emphasizing use of the best medical science available in caring for patients in the context of thoughtful, meaningful doctor-patient relationships.
Our providers are equipped to handle a broad and comprehensive spectrum of illnesses that affect adults, and are recognized as experts in diagnosis, in treatment of chronic illness, and in health promotion and disease prevention—they are not limited to one type of medical problem or organ system. Whatever medical concern a patient brings—no matter how common or rare, or how simple or complex we are specially trained to solve puzzling diagnostic problems and can handle severe chronic illnesses and situations where several different illnesses may strike at the same time.
Preventive medicine is practiced by all physicians to keep their patients healthy. It is also a unique medical specialty recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS). Preventive medicine focuses on the health of individuals, communities, and defined populations. Its goal is to protect, promote, and maintain health and well-being and to prevent disease, disability, and death.
Preventive medicine specialists are licensed medical doctors (MD) or doctors of osteopathy (DO), who possess core competencies in biostatistics, epidemiology, environmental and occupational medicine, planning and evaluation of health services, management of health care organizations, research into causes of disease and injury in population groups, and the practice of prevention in clinical medicine. They apply knowledge and skills gained from the medical, social, economic, and behavioral sciences.
What is a wellness exam?
An annual wellness exam is a comprehensive preventive exam with your primary care physician for the sole purpose of preventive care. An annual exam does not include discussion of new problems or detailed review of chronic conditions. An annual exam may also be called a routine check-up, yearly exam, annual pap, or preventive visit.
Will my insurance pay for a wellness exam?
Most health plans will pay for one wellness or preventive exam per year. Your insurance provider may consider this to be (1) once per calendar year or (2) or once every 366 days from the date of your last wellness exam.
If you have had any other visit billed as preventive during this time period your plan is likely to deny your wellness exam. This would include a well-woman exam or annual pap smear. Your plan may not pay for all testing and/or labs ordered during your wellness exam. If your provider has a concern and orders diagnostic testing and/or labs during your exam you may be financially responsible.
It is the patient’s responsibility to check with their insurance provider to see what is covered under their wellness benefit, and to ensure they are eligible prior to scheduling their annual wellness exam.
What is the difference between a wellness exam and a problem visit?
Preventive visits and tests ordered by your provider can help you stay healthy and catch problems early. Diagnostic visits and testing are used to diagnose a current health problem. Diagnostic tests are ordered by your provider when you have symptoms and they want to find out why. For example, your provider might want you to have a test because of your age or family history, that’s preventive care, but if it’s because you’re having symptoms or a problem, that is diagnostic care.
Can I have a wellness exam and problem visit at the same time?
The answer is Yes, but not preferred. It is possible to address a problem at a wellness exam, however, it is not the preferred method. A wellness exam is a comprehensive review of systems, medications, past and current medical history, health risk assessment, and preventive testing for potential risks. Wellness exams typically do not require a copay, and, many times, may be covered at 100% (this, of course, is dependent on your insurance plan). When you combine a problem visit with the wellness exam you are billed for both a wellness visit, and a problem visit; which may then require a copay, or have the charges applied to your deductible. For this reason, we ask that you please schedule a separate appointment, on a different day, if you have any new concerns or ongoing health problems that need more attention.