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Trend of house call doctors on the rise

November 8, 2010 12:00:00 AM PST
Trips to the doctor's office can be painful when you have to bring in a sick child, especially one who gets anxious before visits.A growing trend now allows the option for parents to stay home and still get the care their child needs.

Little Felipe Amzallag sees the pediatrician often for colds, fevers and shots - but his pediatrician comes to him. His doctor makes house calls, something Felipe's dad says brings benefits beyond saving him a drive.

"The drawbacks of having to go to an office to see a pediatrician include the concern that other children are sick around my child [and] the concern the pediatrician isn't paying 100 percent attention to my child," said Felipe's father Tristan Amzallag.

Dr. Ed Kulich says kids are also more relaxed, and he believes seeing a child at a home setting gives him a better understanding of what might contribute to an illness or behavior issue.

"I can pick up developmental signs that might not be seen in an apprehensive child," said Kulich. "I also can give parents sleep training which is very often overlooked because of the time constraints of a visit."

Pediatricians who make house calls are also referred to as concierge pediatricians. It's a growing trend with physicians popping up across the country providing services outside the office.

Dr. Russell Libby is the chair of home care for the American Academy of Pediatrics. He sees this trend evolving even more.

"Especially as we start taking care of more complex kids at home and as some physician practices may narrow down to a smaller number so that they can provide better care," said Libby.

"I wanted to devote lots of time to each individual patient instead of seeing 30-40 a day, I could see three to four," said Kulich.

Parents may pay a higher price for the service and, in many cases, they will have to pay the fees up front and then be reimbursed by their insurance company. However, some doctors provide around the clock care in case of an emergency.

Felipe's dad feels it's worth the cost.

"Do it because there's no more secure feeling," he said.

If you are interested in finding a pediatrician who does house calls, be sure to select a doctor who is board certified by the American Academy of Pediatrics and on staff at your local hospital.


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