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By ANGELA CLATER
Question: My parents are elderly and can barely get around, it is difficult to get them in the car. They have so many doctor’s appointments because of their many medical problems, they have to miss many of the appointments because I can’t get them there. Medicare will not pay for ambulance transportation to the doctor’s office anymore, and it is very expensive. Do you have any suggestions?
Answer: Many people are in the same situation as you. As baby boomers age, this will become more of an issue. A new trend in geriatric care is a twist on the way medicine used to be. House calls quickly are becoming a service offered in many communities. Doctor’s offices that offer home visits instead of office visits will help with the financial burden of ambulance bills for transportation as well as time missed from work for family members to take loved ones to the doctor. Many visits can be made at convenient times for the family so they may be present for the visit.
There are a couple of companies in Hardin and surrounding counties that offer house calls. These services include lab work, EKG, preventive screenings, minor procedures and other services you would normally receive in a doctor’s office, all in the comfort and privacy of your own home. Other perks of the service include less waiting time, because the provider comes to you. There is no sitting in an office waiting room. Because there is no waiting room, exposure to other illnesses is eliminated.
House call services are designed for adults who have difficulty leaving their homes and for patients who may be bed bound, wheelchair bound or have difficulty walking any distance, though they are not limited to frail elderly. Adults who have experienced multiple hospitalizations benefit from a house calls service and usually can decrease their number of hospitalizations. House calls providers usually see patients more frequently to manage the chronic illnesses and prevent hospitalizations and emergency room visits. House calls services usually bill insurances and charge the same copays as office visits.
Angela Clater is practice administrator at Primary Care at Home and a registered nurse.
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