Anyone hear this story on NPR this morning? http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5059324 This is a great topic for interviews: a way to provide better quality health care at a lower cost, at least to certain populations. Check out this link too for more information: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5059072 An excerpt: According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the average hospital stay for a Medicare beneficiary age 65 and over is nearly six days, at a cost of about $3,500 per day. Previous smaller-scale studies have suggested that giving these patients better care earlier can reduce costs down the road. For example, a 2004 study of a house call program in Las Vegas found a 62-percent drop in hospital stays among 91 elderly patients, resulting in a net savings of $261,225 per year. Dr. Eric De Jonge, who helps run the house call program at the Washington Hospital Center, says making home visits to his patients, who might otherwise call 9-1-1, has translated into significant cost savings. "An urgent house call costs about $100. An ER visit with 9-1-1 calls costs about $2,000," De Jonge says. "On a day-to-day basis, making urgent visits and coordinating the care in the home is clearly going to prevent some of those high-cost events." And when elderly patients in the program are hospitalized, De Jonge says, they are discharged, on average, two-and-a-half days sooner than those not enrolled. In part, that's because staff from the program will check up on them at home. In October, Medicare began a three-year pilot program to test the benefits of house calls on a national scale. The program involves 15,000 Medicare patients in Texas, California and Florida, who will receive free, 24-hour access to in-home care. Medicare officials will compare the medical records of those enrolled in the program to those in a control group to see whether house calls translate into cost savings and improved patient health.