Magazine article Medical Economics

Back to Basics

Magazine article Medical Economics

Back to Basics

Article excerpt

HOUSECALL PRACTICE

Most practices don't figure in the price of gasoline when calculating overhead, but Gary J. Patti, DO, has to.

His office is a Toyota Avalon, and it's a significant expense for HouseCall Doctors, his solo practice. Parti visits patients throughout the Phoenix metropolitan area, and filling the tank is a regular? and rising? expense. Still, it's cheaper than rent for an office.

Parti, a family physician, has had a housecall-only practice since 2005. He's accompanied on his rounds by bis wife or grown daughter. Neither is a healthcare professional, but they take notes, answer calls, interact with patients, keep him on schedule, and handle the paperwork.

Unlike some mobile practices that use vans equipped with everything from portable x-ray machines to IVs, Patti travels with a minimum of equipment With its large elderly population, Phoenix has a complement of mobile medical services Patti calls on to visit patients at home, including podiatrists, dentists, ECG technicians, and more.

Patti, who has had an office-based practice, been an emergency department doctor, and worked for an insurance company, likes delivering healthcare this way.

"I have more control over my time, I answer to no one, I take responsibility, and I'm in charge," he says.

And no office rent or upkeep, no front- desk staff, no expensive office equipment His overhead consists of his car; malpractice insurance; salaries for himself, his wife and his daughter; a billing service; and supplies.

"You have to keep the overhead down," he says. "This is a business, and a lot of doctors don't keep that in mind. …

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