Physician house calls used to be common place in the 1920's and 30's, with nearly 40% of patients being seen and treated at home. By the 1950's however, house calls disappeared as medicine became more centralized and we began to experience more technological advancements in the field. Could the classic, black physician bag of the past that was an iconic symbol be reappearing in a new and more expanded form of practice? Yes!
Our healthcare system now demands changes and we are beginning to revisit this concept more. This is primarily due to our increasing population of seniors and their desire to remain at home for a variety of reasons. People are remaining longer in their homes due to better access to home care, cost, comfort, and concerns over quality of inpatient care and the general overload in patient care facilities.
Medicare Part B billing indicates an increase in physician home care services. It is expected that the demand for house call services will continue to increase as the existing long-term care and assisted living infrastructure does not have the capacity for the increasing numbers of aging patients needing services. We definitely have a supply and demand problem in this regard. In addition, most assisted living and memory care facilities are private pay, with access to grants and subsidies being difficult to obtain. Remaining home is the only option for many individuals and preventative medicine is the best way to limit costs and ensure quality.
The house call allows for primary care physicians to provide access to individualized care and reduce institutionalization of seniors by delivering care in a totally patient-centered environment ... in the comfort of a patient's home. IV fluids, EKG's, blood tests, ultrasounds, and even X-rays can be done in the convenience of one's home. The patients environment and potential barriers to health can also be assessed and altered with guidance to best meet the patients overall care needs. A truly holistic, team approach is supported in this type of collaborative practice model. For seniors who require frequent changes in medication and treatment regimes it can be an ideal solution that supports the best possible outcomes.
For these reasons, I find that I am referring more and more of my clients to house call physicians. I have found the following benefits:
1. Individualized and patient centered care.
2. Attention to detail and more collaborative practice.
3. Prompt follow up and attention that decreases the needs for ER visits and hospitalization, that leads to better outcomes and satisfaction.
4. Decreased exposure to and risk of infection especially during cold and flu seasons.
5. Cost effective approach as billed through Medicaid Part B.
6. Ease of service for patient and family.
7. Decreased stress, anxiety, and potential for injury for client and family members.
8. More effective patient management for those with complex disease processes and the ability to make more frequent changes in medication regimes and treatment plans!
If you feel that you or a family member would benefit from a house call service please feel free to contact me! I am happy to provide guidance in this area!
Change is good!