San Francisco Physician Practice Offers House Calls
House calls, which were considered standard practice in the early 1900s but have been "virtually dead" in most regions since World War II, are experiencing a revival in some U.S. urban areas, KQED's "The California Report" reports.
The San Francisco On Call Medical Group comprises five physicians who make about 60 visits per month and are able diagnose most common illnesses with portable instruments and supplies, according to Yan Chin, a pediatrician with the practice. Physicians typically see about 40 to 50 patients per day in an office-based practice.
Chin said that his salary is comparable to his former office-based practice but that he feels more satisfied by house calls, which give physicians and patients more time to interact.
According to Thomas Getzen, executive director of the International Health Economics Association, the incomes of primary care physicians are coming closer to the incomes of some urban residents, making "the financial equation for house calls more viable."
KQED reports that house calls from the San Francisco On Call Medical Group cost $100 more than an office visit or $200 more if the house call occurs late at night. The practice asks patients to file their own insurance claims and regularly provides discounts to patients who cannot pay as much in fees. San Francisco On Call Medical Group plans to open a satellite office in Palm Springs this fall, KQED reports.
The KQED segment also includes comments from the practice's patients (Levitt, "The California Report," KQED, 9/29).
The complete segment is available online in RealPlayer.