Getting an appointment at a doctor's office can take weeks, and the actual visit can eat hours from your day, but what if the doctor came to you? House calls are making a comeback.
Nurse practitioner Amy Porche spends her days on the road. Her little black back is full of supplies for a visit to the doctor’s office. On one recent patient visit, a flu swab and strep test were spread out on a coffee table alongside her stethoscope and other gadgets.
Porche works for Choices Family Medical. The company employs three nurse practitioners and one doctor and has been in the Baton Rouge market for about a year. A normal co-pay applies for each visit, and the company also accepts Medicare and Medicaid patients.
Working mom Amber Harms has used the service several times.
“I mean we have six children, so doctor’s visits can become an extensive part of our day,” she said.
Porche serves all of East Baton Rouge Parish and parts of surrounding parishes. Besides treating normal illnesses, the mobile staff can also give Botox injections for migraine treatment and prevention, allergy tests and injections, and they even come equipped with a mobile x-ray unit. Demand for the service is growing in underserved communities.
“With the current healthcare crisis that we're in, a lot of physicians are no longer wanting to accept the Medicare/Medicaid aspect of it, so there are so many people out there without primary care providers,” she explained.
The Arc of East Ascension is another regular stop for Porche’s office on wheels. The organization provides healthcare and other services to people with disabilities. Getting some of those clients to a doctor can be a challenge, so Porche’s visits make a big difference.
“The one that doesn't want to leave the home, he's loving it, and I think this is the best thing that could of happened to the Arc,” Executive Director Norma Dukes said.
Porche also makes regular visits to Southside Gardens Assisted Living to treat some of the center’s 46 residents.
“We have many levels of care, and to have someone to come here, it takes the strain off not only the resident, but the family members and the staff as well,” owner Olivia Price said. “Amy’s just one phone call away.”
Regular clients can get same-day appointments, but it usually takes 24 – 48 hours for a visit to a new patient.
Porche came from a previous job where she was allotted about 10 minutes with each patient.
“Here I can actually go in and spend however long I need to, so my patients understand their disease process, what's going on, how they need to treat it, why we're giving them this certain medication,” she said.
The company also operates in Texas and Mississippi and plans to expand as demand grows.
For more information or to schedule an appointment with Choices Family Medical, call 1-800-256-3947.