Physician House Calls Get New Life in San Francisco
San Francisco's On Call Medical Group provides house calls to patients and is part of a growing trend toward service-oriented medical care that also includes retail medical clinics, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
The group, founded 10 years ago by Dr. Jordan Shlain, has grown to six physicians and recently expanded to Palm Springs.
Shlain said the majority of patients are working class and the service is more affordable for them than going to an emergency department for care, regardless of insurance status. The group charges $255 for a house call to a new patient and $195 for subsequent visits. It does not accept health insurance but provides patients with a form to seek reimbursement.
Insurance reimbursement is not guaranteed, but many health plans provide at least partial payment because the service is considered an out-of-network provider, according to the Chronicle.
Yan Chin, a pediatrician with On Call, said, "I know enough health policy to know this is not the answer to everyone's dream. It's one of the answers." He added, "It gives patients a choice" (Colliver, San Francisco Chronicle, 1/31).