Doctor house calls making a comeback in Portland

House car doctors will do exams, treatments and even arrange groceries for patients

Dr. Elizabeth Flores treats Diana Dow in her home. (KOIN)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Diana Dow has dealt with cancer four times. Sometimes, when she was battling cancer, Dow said she was so sick she couldn’t get out of bed for days.

“So weak,” Dow, 71, said, “I could not fix myself anything to eat.”

In those times, Dow said she had a life saver, an organization called Landmark Health, which is bringing back the concept of doctors making house calls.

Elizabeth Flores is a doctor with Landmark, which is bringing back doctor house calls. (KOIN)

“It really is about helping people stay where they are,” said Elizabeth Flores, a doctor with Landmark. “Helping them age at home and get the resources they need at home so they can stay where they want to be.”

A 2015 study from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services showed that medicare patients with complex conditions using house calls saved medicare $25 million. It’s an old way, used by Landmark and Portland based Housecall Providers, of treatment making a comeback.

Flores said a home visit is way more valuable to the patient than having them come to an office or hospital. Through a proper medical insurance provider, Landmark assigns a doctor, nurse and social worker to come directly to a patient’s doorstep. They’ll do exams, treatments and even arrange groceries.

The house calls allow for a more personal relationship, as well.

“When I came out here and found her really ill I was able to make a better assessment about what her needs would be,” said Julie Crites, a nurse care manager who treats Dow, “because I really knew her.”

Diana Dow. 71. has battled cancer 4 times. She said having doctors making house calls has been a life saver. (KOIN)

Flores said there’s a growing need for house calls and a current healthcare system that can’t keep up with that demand.

“It just gives you a whole lot more to later help the patient better … Not possible when you’re in the clinic setting or going in and out of the emergency room or urgent care just for that one problem,” Flores said.