Doctor House Visits for Seniors in Mesa

By Tracey Biggerstaff
Categories: General, Independent Living, Assisted Living, Memory Care

The concept of a doctor coming to see a patient in their home rather than a patient going to the doctor’s office is not new. In 1930, about 40 percent of doctor-patient interactions were through house calls, but by 1980, the rate was down to 1 percent, according to Clinics in Geriatric Medicine.

For a patient, house calls mean no more frustration with scheduling, waiting rooms, trying to find transportation or having to travel when not feeling well. For family members or friends, house calls mean less time off work or juggling of other priorities to take a loved one to their doctor’s appointment. We at Fellowship Square Historic Mesa know that this can be a stressful situation on many fronts which is why Dr. House Visits are a service we offer for our residents. When choosing an assisted or independent living community in the Mesa area, this service can be overlooked, but should be considered given how helpful it can be for both patients and their families or loved ones.

Dr. Christian Rainer of Dr. House Visits and his staff (Dr. Kathi LaCourt, Samantha Crouch – Nurse Practitioner and Janet Stone - Secretary) says “What we do is not our invention. We are copying what doctors have done for centuries. The concept is that when a patient isn’t feeling well and for whom traveling is difficult (especially the elderly), you should not ask them to travel to the doctor’s office but rather, bring the doctor to them in their home.”

House calls removes common barriers of getting to appointments so that primary care is delivered more consistently and when needed. This is particularly important when hospital stay follow up appointments are required. In addition, Doctors and their staff enjoy a more personal interaction with their patients and the opportunity to see them in their senior living environment so that they can better assess their needs.

A recent study in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society and as cited in US World News, found that Medicare costs among 722 elderly patients in a house call program were $8,477 less on average per person than costs among a group that didn't receive house calls over two years. The house call group also had 9 percent fewer hospitalizations, 10 percent fewer emergency room visits and saw specialist’s 23 percent less. While house call patients in the study saw generalists more than twice as often as the other group, those visits still saved the health care system money since specialists' care is usually costlier.

Why should someone choose Dr. House Visits for their primary care? Dr. Rainer says “First of all, it is easier to get in contact with us. We make it a point to be available quickly – most calls are answered live or otherwise returned within 1 business day (usually much sooner). Our goal is to make the process as un-bureaucratic as possible with no paperwork to fill out.”

Dr. House Visits has an office on site at Fellowship Square Historic Mesa and sees many our residents, all in their assisted or independent living apartments, as their primary care provider. They accept a long list of insurance plans and will verify coverage on behalf of patients and prospective patients.

For our independent and assisted living residents, Dr. Rainer may be reached through our Campus Care Coordinator at 480-290-7019. Otherwise, if you’re not currently a resident of Fellowship Square Historic Mesa please reach out to Dr. Rainer at 602-380-6012.

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