Do doctors still make house calls? More than you might think. A recent resurgence in house calls has spawned a new series of educational conferences for medical practitioners, which are the first of their kind.
Four conferences will be held this fall across the country to educate physicians, nurses, and other healthcare professionals about developing and growing a house call practice.
The all-day conferences, called HouseMD Today, will focus on such topics as growing a house call practice, concierge medicine, insurance and legal issues, medical ethics, marketing, reimbursement, referral sources, and telemedicine. The forums are jointly sponsored by the New York University Post-Graduate Medical School and conference producer Diversified Business Communications, in cooperation with the American Academy of Home Care Physicians.
Since 1998, house calls have increased by 43 percent. Why? A change in Medicare’s reimbursement system for physicians--who, until then, were paid less than nurses for home visits—is one big reason. The aging baby boomer population is another as the percentage of the American population that is 65 and over is expected to increase from 12 percent in 1990 to 16 percent by 2020. Also, advances in portable medical technology have facilitated the trend.
“Studies have shown that physicians strongly believe that treating patients in their homes will result in improved patient/doctor relationships and better patient care,” stated C. Gresham Bayne, MD, conference chair of the forum, and president of the American Academy of Home Care Physicians in a press release. “Yet, few doctors have formal training in the medical or business sides of house calls and many say they would like more information. These conferences were created as an outgrowth of this need.”
House calls are also less costly, said Bayne, executive director at Call Doctor Medical Group in San Diego, a house call service that makes 1,200 house calls per month. “When you ring the door bell and go in, you have nothing to do with case managers, HMOs, administrative delays or staffing problems,” said the former emergency room physician in a press release. “When I worked in the ER, 80-85 percent of my patients could have been seen at home for one-fifth of the cost.”
The first conference will be at the Belvedere Events Center, Elk Grove, Ill., on October 30. Subsequent sessions will be held at the Melville Marriott Long Island, Melville, N.Y. (November 1); the Hyatt Regency Orange County, Garden Grove, Calif. (November 7); and the South San Francisco Convention Center, South San Francisco, Calif. (November 10). A webinar is also planned, but no date has been set yet.
For more information, go to www.housemdtoday.com or call 207-842-5401.