Mobile urgi-care unit makes house calls in Chandler - SanTan Sun News SanTan Sun News

Mobile urgi-care unit makes house calls in Chandler

August 18th, 2018 development
Mobile urgi-care unit makes house calls in Chandler

By MELODY BIRKETT, Contributor


DispatchHealth is bringing back house calls to Chandler.

The new business makes it possible to avoid the emergency room or urgent care in some instances.

People in need of less-serious emergency care can go online or call and an emergency medical technician will be dispatched to their home within one hour on average.

Once the company confirms the patient’s name and location and gets information about the illness or injury and insurance information, “we confirm you’re a good candidate for us to treat and we arrive at your home in a DispatchHealth vehicle with both a nurse practitioner or a physician’s assistant and an EMT,” said company spokeswoman Andrea Pearson.

“They are equipped to treat all manner of health issues, injuries or illnesses.”

The medical team is able to treat patients 3 months old and up for maladies such as vomiting and dehydration, urinary tract infections and the flu, provide stitches or sutures, address simple fractures and address about 60 percent of what can be done in an emergency room, Pearson said.

“When we onboard a patient we get the name of their primary care provider,” said Pearson. “Our team, who’s on-site with the patient for an average of about 45 minutes, provides complete documentation of that patient’s visit back to that primary care provider.”

“It’s something those physicians really appreciate – having very thorough documentation. That’s very different than what you’ll find when you visit an urgent care or an ER. So, that’s a really important thing to continue the continuity of care and communication.”

Seniors especially find the service useful, Pearson said, explaining:

“It’s really a huge benefit to be able to stay put,” Pearson said. “For a lot of people who live in senior communities or even in assisted living communities, you find the standard of care is sometimes an ambulance ride to and from the hospital.

“Not only is it very expensive but it’s really not very comfortable. It can be very disorienting and it can actually take a much longer time for someone to recover when you try to go through that full experience.”

The service is also handy for parents. “It’s much more convenient for a parent when they have another child or two at home to be able to stay put and not take three children to a busy urgent care or ER where you’re going to spend a lot of time,” Pearson said.

The bottom line, however, she added, is that most anyone will find it a convenient way to get emergency treatment.

For example, Pearson said, “It’s Sunday morning, you’re slicing toast or you’re slicing bagels and you cut yourself. Much more convenient to be able to stay put, have the team come, provide those sutures and call you a few days later to make sure you’re feeling well than it would be to pack up everyone and head to the ER.”

The service was designed by a 20-year emergency room physician who saw a lot of patients coming in and out of the ER and treated in a high-cost setting for things they were probably better off being treated for at home.

DispatchHealth has no physical office. All medical personnel are board certified in emergency medicine and have experience working in an ER.

The medical team is backed by an on-call ER physician. The service is available in the East Valley from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., seven days a week, 365 days a year.

“If they get onsite and they see something that requires a consultation with a physician, they can call, video call, or conference that physician in,” said Pearson.

“And likewise, if it’s a complicated health issue, sometimes the physician on call will reach out to the primary care provider of the patient we’re treating to just make sure we’re communicating well with that practice and understanding what the specific needs of that patient might be.”

In about 3 percent of the cases, the medical team is not able to treat a patient. In that case, 911 is called, but the medics stay with the patient until the paramedic team arrives to transition care.

DispatchHealth takes most commercial insurance plans, Medicare, Medicaid and Medicare Advantage. A patient must give the information when requesting care.

The EMT will then estimate the cost and copay. If someone is uninsured, DispatchHealth will take a $275 cash fee. The company claims the cost of service is usually 85 percent lower than that same visit in the ER.

DispatchHealth is now partnering with Mercy Care Plan and Mercy Maricopa Integrated Care.

“We created that partnership because they’re looking for a way to be able to provide their members with more convenient options for access and care,” said Pearson.