CMS [The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services] is working with 18 organizations and tracking the health costs of patients from each organization for three years starting in 2012. Sites whose patient care costs show significant savings over what Medicare estimates their care would cost outside the home will be eligible to receive incentive payments, according to the CMS website Portland, Ore.-based Housecall Providers is one of these test sites. Dr. Husted, the Housecall Providers medical director, says house calls are in her blood.
“I’m the daughter of a DO,” she says. “On Sunday afternoons after church when I was about 8 or 9, we would get in the car, and Daddy would go visit the patients of his who could no longer come to his office. My father did this on a pretty regular basis for his frail, elderly patients.”
Shortly after she became a physician herself in 1981, Dr. Husted worked in an office-based practice for 9 years, but she occasionally did house calls. At that time, she had no idea she would one day run a house-call-based practice with 1,300 patients.
Dr. Husted’s path from office-based physician to house call crusader was circuitous. She took a break from medicine in 1990 and went to a seminary. At the end of her time there, she prayed for inspiration, and the idea of home care medicine came to her.
“At first I thought, what in the world?” Dr. Husted says. “But I really began to look at house calls as a distinct possibility.”