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Stories from Our Founder

House Calls

Doctor Bag

About this time last year I laid my head on my dad’s chest as he took his last breath. It was challenging for me. This incredible man was gone. My mind began to wonder…

Where did he go?

When will he be back?

Dad was a unique breed of medical doctor. He was a board certified family physician and board certified emergency physician. In fact, he was one of the first certified emergency physicians.

It seemed that Dad did it all. He delivered babies. He took out appendix. He saw and treated patients in the clinic and the the hospital. Things seemed simple.

Back in the day, Dad use to charge $5 for an office visit. The visit included all of the labs and tests that may be needed.

I also remember being at his side for “house calls.” Dad would carry his classic black medical bag. The bag housed all the equipment and medicine patients seemed to need. Occasionally, he would smile and tell me, “All you really need is duct tape and Bag Balm.”

As arrangements were being made for the funeral, my mother presented the obituary that Dad had written for himself. Among the few lines is one I will never forget: “I will do house calls to the end.”

I began to wonder about house calls. Where have the house calls gone? When will they be back? What was once popular in the 1950s and 1960s began to disappear in the 1970s and 1980s. The demands of insurance, time, and compliance helped to stage a clinic based model.

However, over the last few years, the increased demand for a solution to skyrocketing health care costs and availability has brought back the old house call model. House calls have been resurrected. The revolution is on!

Patients seem to enjoy a new found respect. Many feel especially cared for because it is “worth someone coming to them.” Some costs have decreased dramatically. Other states are seeing an increase of an “uber type” model to mobilize physicians and providers to patients homes.

There is still much to be discovered and understood from this resurrected model. Still, it seems to be a welcome breath of new life and viable option for many. Perhaps house calls can be made to the end!

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