Local doctor’s practice to bring back house calls

A local doctor is trying something new by bringing back an old-fashioned practice to La Crosse.

In her career, Dr. Jackie Yaeger, M.D., has worked both delivering babies and helping elders at the end of life. Now, she’s making the jump to start her own practice.

With her new practice, she will be bringing health care right to her patient’s doorsteps. She hopes house calls, which were so common in the past, will be the wave of the future.

“You learn so much about a person going into their home,” Yaeger said. “People always say, ‘Oh my gosh, I’ve never had a doctor make house call. That’s just like in the olden days,’ and I think, ‘Yeah lets do that!'”

She held a town meeting Wednesday at Recover Health in La Crosse to get suggestions from potential patients, including Eugene Huck.

At age 83, Huck knows what he likes and doesn’t like.

“I don’t mind telling people what I think,” he said.

One thing he said he likes is a good relationship with his doctor.

“It’s very important I think,” Huck said.

But he doesn’t like all of the testing, billing and troubles he says come with visiting a doctor in the traditional setting.

“I think they’re after your money more than after treating you anymore,” he said.

So he’s intrigued with the idea of receiving care outside of the clinic.

“I think it’s the greatest idea I’ve heard in a long time, because when I was a kid, when we came down with chicken pox and measles, the doctor always came to our house,” he said.

Yaeger’s practice is targeted at seniors with a direct payment model, in which $400 a month provides patients with a monthly home visit and an hour of direct access to Yaeger’s cell phone a month for any questions.

“I’m particularly interested in people who are caring for loved ones at home, who are frail and nearing the end of life,” Yaeger said. “I think we need to approach patients in that situation a little differently than we do in the big system.”

For Huck, Yaeger’s plan is just what the doctor ordered, and he said the meeting had him feeling better already.

“A lot of good thoughts in my mind, that’s what I’m going to tell you,” Huck said.

Yaeger said she’d like to be an additional layer to the current health care provided in La Crosse, and would accompany patients to the hospital if additional care is necessary.

Yaeger hopes to get the practice up and running by August, and she’s hosting another town hall meeting April 12 at JavaVino in La Crosse from 10 a.m. to noon.