Medical Service Comes to You
by Melissa LaScaleia
Coastal House Calls provides in-home medical assessments and services for patients who have difficulty getting to a medical provider. It offers clients internal medicine, geriatrics, podiatry, infectious disease, dermatology, endocrinology, cosmetic, and aesthetic services, as well as diagnostic and laboratory testing. The company is the brainchild of Patty Smith.
“It took me twelve years and one baby later to birth this idea,” she says. “I’ve always been interested in the geriatric population. I grew up with older family members, and in my twenties, I was caring for grandparents who were in their 80’s. I watched the obstacles my mother faced when my grandmother and grandfather got ill. I was able to look at the situation with a different set of eyes and saw there was a need in their care that wasn’t being serviced. From the time I was a teenager, I always knew I had to bridge this gap.”
Patty has a bachelor’s degree in health science and a master’s degree in health administration. She first implemented her medical house calls company several years ago, in Virginia, where she lives.
Her husband is originally from Myrtle Beach, and one day while vacationing here, Patty noticed the large demographic of retirees and the increase in traffic; she thought the idea could really help the community. She began offering the service in South Carolina to Horry, Georgetown, and Williamsburg counties, this April.
Patty currently splits her time between Myrtle Beach and Virginia, but predicts she’ll be in Myrtle Beach full time as her company grows.
Coastal House Calls has a doctor who is their director, a nurse practitioner, a podiatrist, a dermatologist, and is soon adding an infectious disease specialist.
“This is important for the geriatric population going in and out of the hospital,” Patty says. “We want someone on our team that can handle acute illness. We’re also bringing in an endocrinologist, so we can take care of the hypo/hyperthyroidism and the diabetic population as well. We teamed up with a diagnostic group to be able to provide x-rays, as well as mobile phlebotomy services.
“We try to handle 85% of the care in the home. For that 15%, we offer transportation services in the event that one of our clients is homebound or doesn’t have transportation.”
Receiving care with Coastal House Calls is surprisingly simple— a basic information form, and a formal, in-person patient intake that includes a complete medical history. And their turn around time for an appointment is fast. There’s no extra charge for the house-call service. They accept insurance, and you pay your normal co-pay rates.
They have relationships with Blue Cross, Tricare, any Medicare, Medicare HMO or advantage plan, Medicaid, and they are currently working on establishing coverage for all veterans through the VA, as well as adding more insurances.
Most importantly, they have a Wellness Program for the uninsured and underinsured, and offer services at a sliding scale rate.
“We found out through research, that a large percent of the population, between the ages of 60-64, are uninsured or under-insured,” Patty says.
Coastal House Calls doesn’t just serve the geriatric population. It’s perfect for moms with little children, parents with children who have special needs, the person who simply dreads doctors, or doesn’t want to be around other sick people.
“We just want people to be able to be seen in the comfort of their home— to feel comfortable being seen by their provider,” Patty says.
“My doctors working for me in Virginia know where my heart is, and when I transitioned to Myrtle Beach, they came here to help me set it up. The doctors here are excited to participate in something that is community-driven and patient-centered. I think they know there’s a need here, and that we’re filling it.”
It’s intriguing that Patty is able to offer such attentive and comprehensive service to patients, and when I ask her how she is able to make her company work financially she replies:
“I wanted to focus on giving people the care that they need. I used the tools that I have through my medical consulting company to build a model that was sustainable and a win-win for both patient and doctor. This company is under the umbrella of my consulting company.”
Theresa Smith left the stability and security of a prominent 16-year career to help her sister with this venture.
“She saw I was so busy, running back and forth, and she took a big gamble and a leap of faith with me,” Patty says. “She takes care of things— meetings, phone calls. She’s my right hand. I trust her with my life, and I can’t ask for anything better.”
Coastal House Calls in now permanently closed. We have admired their business and appreciate what they offered our community.