What if you were suddenly given the choice of “going with your heart” or doing what all of your colleagues do for a living?
Twelve years ago, Dr. Ernest Brown was given that choice. Early in his career, he had the opportunity to make house calls. A D.C. non-profit had a grant to support in home visits for debilitated patients. One day, while Dr. Brown was making a house call, a patient’s family member showed him a letter. The funding had run out and the non-profit had shut down the house call program. The patients were being advised that they had 30 days to find a new doctor. Dr. Brown had a choice, he could abandon his patients or he could continue to make house calls without a clear path to an income. Dr. Brown chose an uncertain financial future in order to continue to care for his home bound patients. Doctors To You was born.
Dr. Brown relates, “I don’t know how I got through that first year.” Dr. Brown stayed with his commitment to provide care to his patients even though they couldn’t afford insurance, much less private home care from a visiting physician. Finding supplies and equipment for his patients was a challenge. When his car broke down, a local charity, donated a Toyota Highlander for home calls. Bankruptcy seemed inevitable that first year, but it didn’t happen.
Doctors To You was created as a model of healthcare that puts patient first. Dr. Brown sees patients in their homes, in their offices, or in their hotels if they are visitors. He does not see patients in a doctor’s office. When Dr. Brown’s not making calls today from his Toyota Highlander, he’s likely making his house calls from his bicycle.
The Doctors To You practice is growing and it provides care wherever it is needed in the Washington metropolitan area. Dr. Brown reports approximately 75% of his practice is continuity and 25% is new business. His practice includes charity care, business executives, lawyers, diplomats, and even members of royal families. For continuing primary care, patients engage Doctors To You by a monthly subscription. Dr, Brown also sees new and visiting patients for single health issues for a fee based on itemized services. And unheard of today in healthcare, Dr. Brown doesn’t charge until the patient is better.
Taking care of a patient is more than seeing them just in their homes. If the patient requires an IV, Dr. Brown can do most of the interventions that physicians do in offices. If the patient requires hospital care, he will escort them there himself and serve as an advocate. He helps guides his patients through the system. If hospitalization is required, Dr. Brown will help keep an eye on things until you are well enough to come home and he will follow through with your care.
Quite simply, imagine healthcare if were built around the patient, and your imagination will take you to the practice that Dr. Brown has created.
Dr. Ernest Brown was interviewed by Dr. Thomas Masterson, editor, Vox Salutem.