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Back to Basics: Doctors Making House Calls Again


Fayel attributes a growing discontent among the physician work force to the rebirth of doctor house calls. "Doctors are realizing that they cannot make a decent living by waiting for insurance companies to reimburse them for services rendered," he tells WebMD.

Chris Guzik, MD, a family practitioner in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., who has been with AM/PM HouseCalls since October 1999, agrees. "I can treat patients from a medical point of view with no worries about insurance coverage. I can use the drugs that I want and not have to worry about whether or not they are on the insurance company's formulary."

Another company, the Call Doctor Company in San Diego, Calif., has 10 physicians in Riverside, San Diego, and San Bernadino, Calif., and plans to expand, explains Hank Fanelli, CEO of the Call Doctor Company. Patients call a toll-free number or visit the company's web site to arrange for a house call.

Fanelli points to the fact that today two-thirds of the population reaches age 65 -- and enters the fastest-growing segment of the population. For now, Fanelli's company caters mainly to elderly housebound patients, but it plans to start offering services to younger patients.

Call Doctor offers 1950s house calls with a Y2K-twist. "It's not just a doctor arriving at your front door with a black bag -- our doctors come with portable diagnostic equipment including mobile X-ray equipment and wireless patient record-keeping systems," Fanelli tells WebMD.



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