August 11, 2015
By: Dr. K. Eric De Jonge, Washington, D.C.In the age of high tech medicine, busy ERs, and long waits for doctor appointments, house calls seemed to have gone the way of Marcus Welby MD, the 1970s TV drama. But that’s exactly what our Medical House Call teams do every day—and we’re providing high-quality care for very frail elders at a savings to Medicare.
Working in teams out of MedStar Washington Hospital Center, we provide skilled, coordinated care to frail elders, like 86-year-old Frances Humes who needs intensive monitoring and care but finds it difficult to get to a doctor’s office.
Her daughter, Veronica Butler, said: “She often went to the hospital or ER because it was so difficult to get her to office visits … 9 a.m. appointments required her to start getting ready hours earlier. She would just dread it.”
And like many other family caregivers and patients, Veronica noted “before, I didn’t have a sense of whether there was an emergency or not so I would call 911. Now, they’ll talk me through it. I think she’s healed better because she’s at home.”
With this program, part of the Independence at Home initiative under the Affordable Care Act’s Innovation Center, Veronica’s mother, who suffers from severe rheumatoid arthritis and recurrent pneumonia, can get the attention and high-quality care that she needs in the comfort of her own home rather than in an expensive and uncomfortable hospital setting. And Veronica can reach the team on a 24/7 basis if she has any concerns about her mother’s health.
READ MORE: Back to the Future: Making House Calls for Better Care, Reduced Costs