In-home Health Care Services Increasing

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In-home Health Care

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A "new kind of medical practice is flourishing nationwide that offersto go to where the patients are -- whether a home, an office or a hotel-- to treat ailments as diverse as a sprained ankle or a bad case ofbronchitis," the New York Timesreports. Fees for home physician appointments can range from $250 to$450, as well as additional costs for tests and medications, withpayment due at the time of appointments. In most cases, patients mustpay the fees out of pocket, although some PPOs might reimburse membersfor between 70% and 100% of the cost.

Walter Krause -- founder of Inn-House Doctor,a company with 40 physicians on call in Boston, Chicago, Dallas,Houston, Las Vegas, Philadelphia, Phoenix and Washington, D.C., thatprovide home appointments -- said, "When you call, you can speak to adoctor in five minutes, and that doctor can be there with you withinthe hour. Where else do you get that kind of delivery?" According tothe Times, the practice has increased in recent years asthe "demand for primary care physicians outweighs the supply in manycities," hospital emergency departments "are becoming overloaded withnonemergency cases" and reimbursements for physicians have decreased.

Rick Kellerman, president of the American Academy of Family Physicians,said, "We have that perfect storm. The current system doesn't work wellfor patients or physicians," adding, "More doctors are coming up withnew home business practice models. They're exasperated with paperworkand insurance regulation" (Alsever, New York Times, 9/23).

Reprinted with permission from kaisernetwork.org. Youcan view the entire Kaiser DailyHealth Policy Report, search the archives, and sign up for email deliveryat kaisernetwork.org/email. The Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report is published for kaisernetwork.org, afree service of The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.

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