Health Column: The doctor will see you now — at home

05/31/2015 6:00 AM |

The biggest problem Medical House Calls of the North Fork has, owner Steven Templeton said recently, is that people assume it’s too good to be true.

But the Greenport physician assistant’s business, which provides health care to people from Riverhead to Orient in the comfort of their own homes, is the real deal.

“When you go the doctor now, it feels like a revolving door because they need to see so many patients,” said Mr. Templeton, who launched MHCNF in January. “House calls enable us to really spend time with our patients, to sit down and discuss what’s really bothering them.”

Mr. Templeton and his medical team — internist Dr. Nathanael Desire, surgical physician assistant Jose Perez and registered nurse Judith Perez — treat everything from cuts and sprains to gastritis and urinary tract infections seven days a week. They can also perform blood draws and suturing, give steroid injections and administer IVs.

“We’re a little outside the box in terms of house calls,” Mr. Templeton said. “We kind of took it to a new level.”

Indeed, the term “house call” might evoke scenes from “Little House on the Prairie,” but there is nothing old-fashioned about this operation. MHCNF has its own ambulance and offers a flat-rate health insurance policy that includes a yearly physical, up to six additional visits, lab work, X-rays and more, Mr. Templeton said. And the concept is catching on: One day earlier this month, Mr. Templeton said he had already seen 10 patients by 2 p.m.

The idea for the business was born from a desire to streamline health care on the North Fork, particularly for the elderly and people who have difficulty leaving their homes.

Mr. Templeton, a Hauppauge native, said that when he visited his grandparents in Mattituck he “realized that when you see a provider [here], you have to make multiple stops to get seen and have labs and imaging done. And people who are geriatric, that can take a lot out of them. That’s when we realized there was an opportunity.”

One of the things MHCNF doesn’t treat are symptoms that require emergency care, like chest pain, shortness of breath, pregnancy complications or loss of consciousness, Mr. Templeton said. They also don’t treat acute breaks. But people who, say, cut a finger while cooking and don’t know whether they require emergency room care can text or email a photo of the injury to MHCNF for an assessment.

“We’re taking technology and using it to our advantage,” Mr. Templeton said.
His wife, Michelle Pelletier, MHCNF’s office manager and dispatcher, added: “Anywhere you are, they’ll come.”

“We’ll never say no,” Mr. Templeton said.

Medical House Calls of the North Fork is open 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday; Sunday appointments are reserved for sick visits and acute injuries. For more information and a full list of services, call 631-626-1006 or visit northforkhousecall.com.

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