Doctor house calls return to Rappahannock County

‘I got tired of volume medicine, churning out health care like a hamster on a wheel. I can now slow down . . . and bring health care into people’s homes’

A few of us remember the days when doctors made house calls.

No traipsing into a busy medical office to find a doctor while being further exposed to colds and flu. No walking with a 103-degree temperature to a bus stop to reach a nurse. There, in your own bedroom or living room, you’d be examined, diagnosed, a prescription written and perhaps even dispensed.

“I got tired of volume medicine,” explained Dr. William Simpson for ditching his medical office and working “100 percent” out of his car. By Kathy Eggers

Now, in certain parts of the country — Rappahannock County included — the old-fashioned doctor house call is coming back.

According to the American Academy of Home Care Medicine, doctor house calls are “one of the most rapidly expanding areas of healthcare and for a good reason — technology is becoming more portable, allowing home health to become the most cost-effective and most compassionate form of health care.”

In our area, one provider of this service is Dr. William Simpson.

Board-certified in internal medicine, Dr. Simpson has practiced medicine for 25 years in Fauquier County. He recently created “Doc at Your Door,” a service that provides acute, chronic, and preventive mobile primary care in Rappahannock, Fauquier, and surrounding areas.

Dr. Simpson recently spoke to a group of Rapp at Home members about why he started his company.

Dr. William Simpson speaks to a group from Rapp at Home about how he’s bringing doctor house calls back to Rappahannock County. By Kathy Eggers

Health care in this country “is being delivered now in such a fragmented and broken way,” he said. “These days the insurance companies and government are in control of the healthcare system.”

This often creates roadblocks for patients to get timely medical care, and stresses physicians who have to answer to mandates placed on them by non-medical entities.

“As a result,” Dr. Simpson said, “doctors are fitting too much into each day, sometimes double- and triple-booking patients. It’s volume medicine” and doctors are burning out.

In addition, continuity of care is being compromised — patients in hospitals often aren’t seen by the providers who know their history.

“We’ve got highly trained professionals, highly skilled, they know what they’re doing,” Simpson said. “They can bring you excellent care. We’ve got amazing new medications, amazing new therapies, but they are all trying to be brought to you via a broken system.”

So how did he go from a busy office-based practitioner to devoting himself to making house calls?

“I got tired of volume medicine,” he said, “churning out health care like a hamster on a wheel. I can now slow down, be more diligent and bring health care into people’s homes.”

Based in Warrenton, Simpson has no office; instead he works “100 percent out of my car.”

He is quick to emphasize that Doc at your Door is not concierge medicine or an elite service for a high annual fee. Clients only pay for the actual time he spends with them, whether it’s five minutes for an injection or 30 minutes to help a client understand medical forms.

He decided to forego the hassles of working with insurance companies, so he doesn’t take insurance for his services, but any tests he orders are usually covered.

In closing, he summed up the advantages of today’s brand of home care.

“If you would like quality primary care that is convenient, private and personal, consider mobile primary care, whether you need it because you have mobility issues or you prefer it because you want to avoid the hassles and the rush and chaos of office practice.”

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About Patty Hardee 271 Articles
Writer, consultant, actor, director, recovering stand-up comic, Patty covers the county’s courts and other topics of interest for Rappahannock News. She lives with her grape-growing husband Bill Freitag in Flint Hill.