As a house-call physician, my days are busy. I get up early, have my coffee and a simple breakfast. Then, I’m on the computer, looking at the map to plan my drive. For me, a typical day could mean six hours, or it could mean 12. I try to keep my schedule flexible, so I’m often out until well into the evening, and I’m available on the weekends, too.
Before leaving the house, I make sure to test my medical equipment. This includes a blood pressure cuff, an oxygen monitor, an EKG, an otoscope (a medical device used to look into the ears), and some strep tests — among many other items on a long list of the basic “tools of the trade.” It all fits into my small, old-fashioned black bag.
Then, I head out the door. Often a neighbor who’s up early gives me a smile and waves as I get behind the wheel. I’m easy to spot because everywhere I go I wear my blue scrubs with “House Call Doctor” embroidered on the back.
Every day is different, but I'm usually doing anything from checking in on some of the older folks in underserved communities to responding to a concierge patient’s cough, fever, back pain, or urgent medical issue.
My patients are all over the city — from the poorest to the most affluent neighborhoods. As for my elderly, home-bound patients who live in Southeast D.C.’s wards 7 and 8 (the lowest socioeconomic areas in the district), I provide my service as a charity.
What my concierge patients do pay, once they’re all better, is based solely on the value of the care they receive, not some artificially high price negotiated by an insurance company. Costs are itemized and include travel time, after-hours, weekends/holidays, medications, procedures, bedside diagnostics, follow-up, and coordination of specialist care or transfer to the hospital if needed.