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Should Your Docs Be Making House Calls?

Philip Betbeze, for HealthLeaders Media, February 14, 2014

What Kinney is doing is not a concierge practice, with a set amount of patients, and an annual fee.

"Right now, I don't do that," Kinney says. "I don't want to make it so people who don't have money can't afford to see me."

The question for healthcare leaders, however, is whether this model is viable in larger practices or even hospital-based practices.

Although I've found little research on the issue, the house call model appears to be a profitable line of business for a hospital or health system. The key, it seems to me, is whether the underlying hospital or health system has reached the tipping point on transforming from volume-based to value-based reimbursement.

Most are not there [yet], but once health systems become responsible for the care of populations, I can envision how it would be cost effective to deploy a certain number of physicians, care coordinators, and physician assistants, not to mention lab workers, to work in a mobile setting. Some systems are dabbling in mobile medicine already, but I have not seen many who incorporate house calls into their service repertoire.

Still, it seems to me that if you're responsible for keeping patients out of high-cost areas of care in the future, this could be a worthy investment.

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