In the “old days”, 50 years or so ago, calling the local doc and having them come to you was a common occurrence. If you enjoy TV shows from the 60s you’ll probably remember Ward and June Cleaver calling the family doctor and having him show up on their doorstep whenever Wally or Beaver were ailing. However, the practice of doctors making house calls has diminished over the years. It’s really quite a shame because about 80% of medical needs can be addressed without having to go to a hospital.
Speaking of hospitals, they are one of the main culprits in the demise of doctor house calls. Hospitals have become an all-purpose hub for care. In fact, many hospitals are calling themselves ‘medical centers’ these days. Such medical centers often not only have inpatient and emergency room care, but a section dedicated to various medical practices such as family practice and internal medicine, etc. Sounds great, but here’s the problem: Who wants to go where all the sick people are when you have an ailment that can be treated at home? I’ve heard horror stories of someone picking up an illness while staying at a hospital or even visiting a loved one there… I’d much prefer to stay away from hospitals if I had the choice.
Sadly, for many there is no choice because most doctors don’t make house calls. According to a 2018 Landmark Health article, approximately 13 percent of doctors claim to make regular house calls. Of those doctors, only three percent make more than one house call in a week.
But there is hope yet for doctor house calls coming back strong! It’s called: Direct Primary Care (DPC). They see this need and are stepping up to fill it in a big way.
Direct Primary Care is the answer to, “Do doctors still make house calls?”
Imagine having 24/7 access to directly contact a physician or physician assistant whenever you needed help or medical advice. And this isn’t some automated voice message machine where you have to listen to a seemingly endless barrage of messages to hopefully get ahold of someone. This is a real person who can respond to your needs immediately, without having to leave the comfort of your own home.
In DPC, if a house call is needed they will come to you. However, most of the time they can take care of your needs over the phone or by video chatting.
How does Direct Primary Care work?
First you need to understand that Direct Primary Care is not insurance. It’s a membership. You pay a reasonable monthly fee for 24/7 access, and the physician helps you find the most cost effective solution for you. The best part is: It saves people money! Most people don’t know that the deductible for some medications and services is often more than what they would pay out of pocket. It sounds crazy but it is true! We live in a hyper-inflated medical pricing world when insurance is involved. Direct primary care wants nothing to do with that. They help you get the best possible treatment at the best possible price. There is no in-network or out-of-network. It’s all about finding the best and most cost effective treatment for what you need. It’s like a breath of fresh air!
Who’s doing doctor house calls in Direct Primary Care?
Alive and Well, located in Southern Utah, is one such practice. For physician assistant J.R. Martin, house calls are a typical part of his day. Even during times when Coronavirus (COVID-19) is sweeping the nation, Martin is still able to visit patients’ homes to care for them, when needed, while using appropriate protective measures.
Small to medium sized businesses often take advantage of what Alive and Well offers because it provides a better service to their employees while saving the business a significant amount of money.
Here are some common reasons doctors still make house calls.
- Mobility issues – There are people with chronic conditions that can make mobility somewhat challenging.
- Examples of these conditions include:
- Lung disease
- Heart disease
While some people with these conditions may be able to travel to and from a medical facility with no assistance, others may have mobility challenges that make such travel difficult. Such patients may need someone to transport them to physician appointments. On the other hand, if a doctor makes a house call for these patients, the service can offer a great benefit for them. In fact, the lack of such in-home care can cause these conditions to worsen to the point that the patient requires a long, expensive hospital stay. So in-home care can be both less expensive and more tailored to the individual.
Growth of the elderly population – The Landmark Health article estimates that people who are 65 years of age or older will make up 20 percent of the United States population by 2030. Then, in 2040, the senior population is expected to double. Additionally, two-thirds of the aging population is expected to suffer from chronic conditions. As a result, many of these people could be homebound while still needing access to timely medical attention. So, doctors making house calls could be the only ones prepared to provide it.
Summary – Hassle-free and timely health care for everyone.
Direct Primary Care is the answer to ‘Do doctors still make house calls?’ … and here’s why:
It’s convenient – These days speed and convenience are increasingly important to many people. Consequently, people would often prefer to have their doctor come to them rather than have to spend time in a waiting room. Not only that, those who are feeling ill may prefer to have their doctor come to them rather than have to drag themselves into a doctor’s office.
It saves money, especially with minor injuries requiring attention – Someone who has suffered a minor injury such as a cut requiring stitches can avoid the emergency room, which is outrageously expensive even for very basic urgent care. J.R. and his fellow Alive and Well providers will come to patients’ homes, or wherever they are, and treat the injury quickly for much less expense than going to the emergency room.
Here at Alive and Well we serve the everyday health care needs of individuals and small business employees. So the next time someone asks, “Do doctors still make house calls?” answer with a resounding “Yes! At Alive and Well.” In fact, some situations are better-off for an injured or sick person to stay right where they are so we can come to them. We are only a call or text away.
ATTENTION Small Business Owners: We love working with small and medium sized businesses because we can often offer a better solution than expensive insurance options. We regularly visit member’s worksites to provide education, health assessments, and first aid if an injury were ever to happen. This often saves businesses money and provides a better service. Interested in learning more? Click here to schedule a quick 15 minute call.