New Bill Would Facilitate House Calls

Doctors making house calls? Once popular, house calls have almost become a thing of the past. Almost. And those who do make house calls may soon have the support they need in Washington to make the practice economically feasible.

The Independence at Home Act of 2009 (H.R. 2560) is designed to provide certain high-cost Medicare beneficiaries with access to coordinated, primary care medical services in lower cost treatment settings, such as their residences.

“Our current health care system does a poor job caring for seriously ill Americans, who often are ‘lost in transition,'” says Massachusetts Congressman Edward Markey, author of the bill, introduced May 21. “This bipartisan, bicameral bill holds great promise for improving quality of care, reducing hospitalizations, lowering costs and lifting the spirits of those who, after a lifetime of contributions to our society, deserve the dignity and peace of mind that comes with living independently.”

For doctors making house calls this bill would make it easier and less expensive to continue the practice. For patients, this bill could mean improved health outcomes.

One doctor in particular, Dr. Eric DeJonge, says it will make all the difference in how he and his partners practice, and everyone would benefit. DeJonge, a geriatric specialist at Washington Hospital Center who runs the hospital’s Medical House Call Program, told CNN Health Producer Val Willingham, “Those savings would be shared with the health systems that are willing to create them and serve their communities.”

Read more about doctors making house calls on CNNHealth.com.

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