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UVA Medical Center Program Makes Pediatric House Calls - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

UVA Medical Center Program Makes Pediatric House Calls

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Ashley Mackey, 3 months old, gets a home checkup Ashley Mackey, 3 months old, gets a home checkup

Who says the days of the house call are long gone? You can still get a doctor to come to you, just like in the old days.

University of Virginia Medical Center is launching a new program a lot of parents will like, called UVA By Your Side Pediatrics. The doctors who are a part of the program have built a practice around treating children in their parents' homes. They say it's better for patients and actually saves medical costs.

Three-month-old Ashley Mackey got a full checkup right at home Wednesday by two UVA Medical Center pediatricians.

"Having them come here is amazing because the idea of taking her in a car to a doctor's office  being that tiny and little is very overwhelming," said Lauren Mackey, the child's mother.

Ashley was born prematurely and required almost daily doctors' visits.

"What was very important with Ashley is that she needed frequent visits. We can make an instantaneous home visit for a sick child," said Dr. Ina Stephens, an associate professor and pediatrician at UVA Medical Center.

UVA By Your Side Pediatrics is especially helpful for children with complex medical needs, for example, being on ventilators or taking chemotherapy. But the doctors also make house calls to otherwise healthy children when they get sick.

"We basically carry in our car almost the full equipment you have in a regular practice. We have equipment to do the full physical exam and equipment to do blood drawing if that's necessary," Stephens said. 

The doctors in the program say seeing families in their homes prevents expensive hospital visits.

"They are not exposed to other children in the office and that alleviates some of the ER visits that they may have to otherwise go to," said Dr. Lisa Hainstock, a UVA Medical Center pediatrician.

It also allows families like the Mackeys to become more comfortable with their doctors.

"It's a very trusting relationship. They have been amazing and I couldn't have asked for a better situation to be in," Mackey said.

UVA By Your Side Pediatrics only sees patients within 25 miles of Charlottesville, and they make house calls on otherwise healthy kids who may come down with the flu.

While the practice has a limit, the doctors still have openings for new patients.

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