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Should Your Docs Be Making House Calls?

Philip Betbeze, for HealthLeaders Media, February 14, 2014

One DC-based physician says making house calls is the only way he can maintain his solo practice. Demand is heavy and his business is growing. Should hospitals get into this business line, too?


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Could house calls be a major business opportunity for your health system?

It has been for Stephen Kinney, MD, who calls on the homes of dozens of patients a week through his own private practice, Metro Direct Care Medical in Washington, D.C. He provides same-day service and is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Not that he's getting rich off his business model, for which he eschews commercial insurance but accepts Medicare. He isn't. But at about $200 a visit, he does make a comfortable living and says his services are less than many other physicians in his area that are performing the service.

Could this model work for a large-scale implementation by a medical group from a hospital or health system?

Well, it depends. If you are far along in your journey toward value-based care, I don't see why not. Kinney says he's been able to keep dozens of patients out of the hospital in his time doing house calls, and keeping patients from needing high-cost care that a hospital provides is a key metric for success in risk-based contracting.

Like many physicians, Kinney grew tired of dealing with work in a traditional physician practice, where he took insurance and had to see patients every 15 minutes in order to make ends meet.

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