No exam room, no nurses. Just him, along with his car, medical bag and cell phone. Dr. Ernest Brown makes house calls all over the Washington, DC area, caring for people of all ages and income brackets.
For the past eight years, Dr. Brown has eschewed the traditional model of healthcare, one that is clinic or hospital-based and deals with insurance providers.
In fact, Dr. Brown doesn’t accept insurance at all.
This has allowed him to charge reasonable fees for paying patients and gives him the freedom to provide health services to people who can’t afford them. Brown says that this way of working is most fulfilling for him because the one-on-one patient interaction and ability to help those in need are what medicine should be all about.
Brown’s patients include politicians, celebrities, visiting dignitaries and private citizens. The people he treats value the individualized care they receive in addition to the convenience of not having to wait for a doctor’s office to open. Also, Brown’s patients appreciate the fact that they don’t have to wait in a waiting room, deal with insurance companies or make appointments via receptionists. Their house call doctor is accessible, and they don’t have to go through any intermediary to see him.
And for the patients who are bedridden or can’t afford regular doctor’s rates, Brown is a godsend.
Odessa Harris, one of Brown’s patients, suffers from Alzheimer’s Disease and is bedridden. It has become increasingly difficult to transport her to doctor’s appointments, and hospital and traditional healthcare rates are too taxing on the family’s finances. Mrs. Harris’s family appreciates how kind and caring Dr. Brown is with her. They were used to doctors who neglected the personal side of geriatric care. Harris’s granddaughter’s friend recommended she contact Dr. Brown, and she says, “for him to come in here and treat her like family, that’s what made the difference.”
Another one of Dr. Brown’s patients is 91-year-old Walter Johnson. Rheumatoid arthritis has immobilized him, making it impossible for him to get to doctor’s appointments. He says “I don’t have to change my clothes or anything, and I’m ready to go when he comes.” Dr. Brown says “Me being able to see patients where they live helps me understand them better and provide better care.”
Brown isn’t in this for money. He is committed to providing good care to his patients, and his professional fulfillment lies in that. He says, “I don’t have a big fancy home, I don’t have a boat. My means are very modest.”
Brown has recruited other doctors to join him, so now the Doctors To You brand can offer services 24-7. Patients can either call or contact the doctor online. They are connected to a doctor within 30 seconds of making contact, and the doctor will come to them when they want them to.
Brown is looking to change the face of modern healthcare, one house call at a time.
You can watch the full video at NBC Washington.