Medicare Doctor House Calls: Could it Save Medicare Millions in Hospital Costs?

medicare doctor house callIt used to be that doctors made house calls.  This was essential because there were few doctors that were responsible for vast areas.  People would send for the doctor if a person was sick, and there was nothing left to do but for the doctor to make a house call to help the patient.

As communication grew along with communities and towns house calls increased for a while, then decreased with the advent of medical centers and hospitals.  There were still house calls, however, there were more and more people going to doctor’s offices, clinics and hospitals.

Then came the era of cities that had organizations and health departments, making the era of house calls nearly a  thing of the past.  There was one group, however, that still fared better with house calls.  This group includes seniors and individuals with disabilities.
Many of these individuals have too many health issues to run back and forth to the doctor’s office.   They are elderly and/or disabled.  As a result, home health care has been the main means by which they are taken care of.  They have nurses and other health practitioners come to their homes to address their health issues.  These visits are covered by Medicare.

Lawmakers are now looking into home visits or good old-fashioned house visits to these same patients by their doctors.  Some doctors are already providing house visits to their more elderly or sick patients because it is easier and better for the patient to be able to stay at home rather than use precious little energy to prepare for a visit to the doctor’s office and the accompanying travel.

There are house call programs in various parts of the country and many physicians are beginning to rally Congress toward funding house calls.  The bonus to this is that it will keep many people out of the hospital – an extremely high expense – and it will provide them with personal, high quality care while saving Medicare millions of dollars.

Doctors who are already doing this are trying to get other doctors to do the same.  In addition, these current doctors are trying to encourage other doctors to lobby with them as well.  After all, the Veteran’s Administration already provides home care to over 3 million people and this has helped many individuals and conserved costs, while delivering personal care.

Time will tell whether home health visits by physicians will be included in Medicare benefits, but if it is, according to many physicians, these visits could be a cost saver and a lifesaver.

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