Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Washington doctor runs house-calls-only practice

Dr. Chris Jenkins runs a house-calls-only practice in Walla Walla, Wash. He has "joined a growing number of physicians across the country who are rejecting some aspects of traditional medical groups," Sheila Hager writes for the Union-Bulletin. His "office" is a 2007 Dodge Sprinter van, and his patients pay a monthly subscription fee—$70 per adult and $140 per family.
Dr. Chris Jenkins talks with patient Mark Sampson.
(photo by Greg Lehman)
Jenkins will drive over whenever his patients call, so they don't need to wait or take time off of work or school. Although he doesn't accept insurance, he does tell his patients they should get health insurance or a cost-sharing program in case of emergencies.

Many of his clients receive coverage through their employers, but they choose the plan they don't have to pay for that has high deductibles and employ Jenkins as their primary care physician. Patient Mark Sampson said, "I used to work for Yakima Valley Memorial Hospital, so I heard all the complaints from the providers about the time they had to devote to paperwork to get paid for the simplest things," he said. Sampson said he likes the house-calls-only model of care. He said it is very accessible and that he isn't a huge fan of the Affordable Care Act.

Jenkins plans to stop acquiring more patients when he reaches 400, which is "about a fifth of the normal family practice load," he said. "The average in the U.S. is 2,200 to 2,400 patients. I want to limit that and take better care of the patients I have." Jenkins decided to go into medicine so he could help people who needed it, but he found out he could only help people with good insurance. He wanted to "get back to more personal relationships." (Read more)

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