By Kelly Werthmann
DENVER (CBS4) – Medical house calls are no longer a thing of the past.
Denver startup “DispatchHealth” has a team of more than 100 ‘on-demand’ professionals who can treat patients in the comfort of their own home.
“We’ve practiced medicine for a long time,” Kevin Riddleberger, co-founder of DispatchHealth, said. “We understand the struggles for individuals to access the right level of care at the right time.”
Riddleberger told CBS4 he co-founded the company in an effort to create convenient, comfortable, same-day care.
It was the kind of care Shanequia Gambrell, a single mother in Denver who also works for DispatchHealth, needed for her nine year old son on Tuesday.
“I called [our primary doctor] first and they couldn’t see him for almost two weeks,” she told CBS4’s Kelly Werthmann.
When her son’s fever kept climbing, Gambreall called DispatchHealth. Within an hour, a medical technician and nurse practioner were at her home and quickly began treating her child. It was an experience, she said, that helped her son feel more at ease.
“When we go to the doctor’s office or something, he kind of clams up and he doesn’t want anybody to touch him and we’re rushed. It’s not personal,” she said. “Here at home he’s more comfortable and he has no problem telling them how he feels or what’s going on.”
From sore throats to stitches, even minor fractures, DispatchHealth can help people across the metro area. The company has eight mobile units serving Boulder to Denver to Aurora south to Castle Rock, operating 8a-10pm, every day, all year.
Right now the company is gearing up for flu season. DispatchHealth has launched what it calls its “Flu Crew” to deliver on-demand, urgent care to help people fight the flu without having to leave home. With a quick call, the company’s certified medical team can perform a rapid infectious disease test, administer IV fluids, prescribe antivirals and more. Unlike a crowded clinic, DispatchHealth said the Flu Crew will spend as much time as needed with each patient to determine an effective treatment plan.
“We work closely with our clinical partners, we’re embedded in the EMS agencies, we work with Centura Health locally and we also work with a lot of primary care groups, home health agencies and senior communities,” Riddleberger explained. “We really act as an extension of their services to provide care to their patient populations.”
Along with the units they have in Colorado Springs, Riddleberger said DispatchHealth serves upwards of 50 patients in Colorado every day. Since launching in 2013, he said teams have served close to 45,000 patients and are now operating in seven markets across the U.S. and plan to expand to 10 by the end of the year.
“And it all started right here in Denver, Colorado,” he said.
DispatchHealth is partnered with most major insurance companies and typically costs upwards of 90% less than the average emergency room visit. On average, the company said, patients pay between $40-$50 depending on their plan. If the patient is uninsured, DispatchHealth accepts a flat fee of $275.
For more information on DispatchHealth, including the number to call for service, visit www.dispatchhealth.com.
Kelly Werthmann joined the CBS4 team as the morning reporter in 2012. After serving as weekend morning anchor, Kelly is now Covering Colorado First for CBS4 News at 10. Connect with Kelly on Facebook or follow her on Twitter @KellyCBS4.