PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - Hospitals are running out of beds and emergency rooms are packed with patients. That has a lot of Arizonans second-guessing where they should go if they have an unexpected injury or illness.
Rebecca Rocho is a market director for DispatchHealth in Arizona, a company that makes house calls, so patients can avoid going to an urgent care center or waiting hours in a crowded emergency room.
"We can stabilize a fracture. We can do stitches. We can treat a UTI, we can hydrate if it's medically necessary, or clinically indicated, ear infections, eye infections," said Rocho. "Anything that can happen in a standing acute care environment."
Here's how it works. If someone is having some type of medical issue that is not life-threatening, they can call DispatchHealth and have an EMT and nurse practitioner drive up to their front door, usually the same day. Patients can also request care through a mobile app. Health care providers will then examine and treat patients from the comfort of their own home. They also do COVID-19 tests.
Scottsdale mom Susan Freeman said that her son recently tested positive for COVID-19, so Freeman and her husband needed a test right away. But getting one on short notice was almost impossible.
"All of the testing places either had long lines, hours of wait, or they were closing down because they were out of tests," said Freeman. "Yes, it was very frustrating."
A friend told Freeman about DispatchHealth and a few hours later, a health care team was at their house, giving them COVID-19 tests. The tests came back negative. Freeman said i'ts nice to know her family has another option if someone gets sick.
"I understand that people homebound should go in front of the line, but for the convenience and ability to have them come and not put me at risk of being exposed to other people, it is definitely worth it," said Freeman.
According to Rocho, DispatchHeath is making about 50 house calls a day in the Phoenix metro area and could start making more, if the current health crisis keeps up. The service does not require a subscription or membership and is available to the public. The service is covered by Medicare and Medicaid and most health insurance. Patients without insurance, or a high deductible, can also pay a flat fee of $275 per visit. For more information, go to their website.