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Scarsdale Pediatrician Makes House Calls

DrDebbieHave you ever woken up in the wee weekend hours because your toddler is crying with a fever and pulling on his ear? And, in that instant, leaning over the crib and trying to soothe your child, have you thought, a) Darn, I think our trip to Florida on Tuesday may just have been cancelled, and b) where is a pediatrician when I need one?

Then you are in luck! Last month, Dr Debbie Horn launched Pediatrics10583, a pediatric house call service for Scarsdale families.

As a local pediatrician and mom of three children ages 7, 6 and almost 3, Dr Debbie frequently put both job titles to work at once when friends would call and ask for urgent pediatric care. If one of Debbie's best friend's children needed a strep test, she would perform the service without question. But what if the person was merely an acquaintance? Who do you help out of friendship, and how do you decide where to draw a line in the sand and call what you are doing a job?

"If you charged us, we wouldn't feel bad calling you," several local mothers told her.

And so Debbie started thinking about forming a business, and, as she was mulling it over, the people just kept calling.

"I just had a lot of little situations...people called me on their way to vacation, or if it was really late at night and their husband wasn't home, and they didn't want to go to urgent care. So it just kind of stemmed from that. I was just doing it a lot, friends would drop by my house....and one day I realized, I just saw five people in 24 hours!"

Boom – Debbie had a local business. Pediatrics10583 started in the best way possible, because it was born out of necessity. Necessity both on the part of the patients who kept calling to see her as well as from her own interest to keep practicing medicine while getting the most time possible as a stay-at-home mom.

Since moving to Scarsdale two years ago, Debbie had significantly cut down her hours at the pediatric practice she had been a part of for a long time in the city and where she still works.

"The next thing that I did more of, I wanted to do it out here," Debbie explains. In order to meet horndemand and be as efficient as possible in her job, Debbie now keeps a kit of supplies in her car. As an example, should your child suffer from asthma or croup, she can travel with her nebulizer and steroids. "I want to maximize convenience for the patients, especially at night." Also wonderful is the idea that Debbie can start your child on that critical first dose of an antibiotic, so that one doesn't have to wait until morning to begin, when the prescription is finally filled.

But please do note that Debbie does not do well-child visits and is not looking to start a pediatric practice. She wants to have a relationship with the pediatric doctors in the community and will refer all follow-up care to them. A note will be sent to your pediatrician to fill them in on the details of her visit.

Also, she warns, her on-the-fly business model means that you will not always see her "looking" the part of an in-office physician, in a suit and white lab coat. She may show up at your house straight after a tennis lesson, or in her casual clothes like a mom-about-town.

Need Dr. Debbie? Call her at (914) 301-3299 and leave a voicemail. She will return your call as quickly as possible. You can also visit her website at www.pediatrics10583.com.

Parents: Say Ah.

gerstenblattColumnist and blogger Julie Gerstenblatt writes with humor and candor about her life in Scarsdale, her friends and family, and the particular demands of motherhood and wifedom in modern-day suburbia. Read about her new book Lauren Takes Leave and keep up with the latest from Julie Gerstenblatt at http://juliegerstenblatt.com.

Comments   

0 #15 Ex Scarsdale 2013-07-18 11:01
The Dr is insured by malpractice insurance, not her practice. Of course she's covered. Kudos to the good Doctor for being industrious enough to help support her family. Perhaps she has loans to pay off. Look up the salaries of Pediatricians these days. She probably makes less the most of the Scarsdale school district teachers and probably less than some of the custodial staff. Too many adult haters out there in 10583. I betcha a dollar that mommy and daddy paid for Medical School for 'local pediatrician'.
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0 #14 Scarsdale mom 2013-07-16 10:12
Another poster mentioned PM pediatrics and that they take insurance. Yes they do but if you have a high deductible plan like I do, every visit to PM pediatrics for a late night ear ache costs me $250 out of pocket. So I'd much rather pay for dr. Debbie who can do the same diagnosis for me in my home.
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0 #13 Rebuttal to rebuttal to rebuttal, etc. 2013-07-12 05:34
That this website presents interesting material does not absolve it from the responsibility of asking, before publishing an article, “Is this Advertising?,” and if so, saying as such.

Nor is it, or this piece’s author off the hook for not bothering to consider some of the basic relevant issues around Dr. Horn’s service, like, oh I don’t know (sarcasm), “is Dr. Debbie covered by malpractice insurance for this business(?),” despite its well informed readers asking questions like these, and correctly guiding prospective users of this service, in the author’s failure to.

I’d argue that’s what’s most good about this website is the intelligent readers who view it, and respond with important commentary, irrespective of their names, which I’d like to point out, you choose to exclude too.
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0 #12 Scarsdale10583 Needs a Better Filter 2013-07-12 02:35
I love this website because it does bring interesting topics and issues for us to debate - despite some of the whining by a few that everyone should have to identify themselves.

That said, this article is an ADVERTISEMENT and I think you should leave that for others to do... I think Local Pediatrician makes very valid points and I agree with them all....
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0 #11 To Scarsdale Parent 2013-07-12 02:02
Maybe our editorials crossed.

Regardless, parents may not be idiots, but grossly misinformed as to the relevant things they need to know that anyone laying a finger on their child has.

Of course, as you say, it's reasonable to expect that Dr. Horn has neither the room nor money to travel with a mobile diagnostic lab. But it's also reasonable to expect that she has malpractice insurance to cover this sideline of hers, which she may very well not given its cost.

This isn't about your cost or convenience, the article's failure to disclose price, Dr. Horn's competancy or her ability to realize a situation needs escalation to an ER, or her work/life choices. It's simply about one thing: malpractice insurance, and the necessity of her to have it specific to this business venture, for her protection and the protection of the patient, vis a vis that patient's guardian(s).

If Dr. Horn comes out a says, "I have full malpractice coverage for this pediatrics10583 .com endeavor," I shall become a happy camper, if not fascinated on how she was able to swing it.

Until then Dr. Horn's silence speaks volumes. Run like the wind from any practioner, no matter how compentant, who charges you a fee, and doesn't have malpractice insurance.
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0 #10 Allan 2013-07-12 01:41
Dr. Debbie came to treat my child overnight. It was extremely helpful. I could not leave my house (my other child was sleeping, and my spouse was not home). It was great and well worth it.
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0 #9 Response 2013-07-12 01:07
* Dr. Horn is being scrutinized more than other Pediatrician soley for her possible lack of malpractice insurance in her capacity as a concierge doctor. Such insurance is not affordable given the low volume of patients she sees, and likely not extended by her NYC office based employer when she acts as her own concierge doctor outside of this practice.

* Concierge medicine is fine. Those who do it full time can afford the cost of their malpractice insurance.

* Outside of rich urban settings and concierge medicine, all Pediatricians take insurance in order to survive.

* I would be very surprised to find that your carrier reimburses Dr. Horn's care, even in part.

* You don't want to be seen by a doctor that doesn't have malpractice insurance. The risks are too great to justify the convinence, even if the fee is negligible.

* I would hope you never sign a waiver that precludes you from litigating a medical outcome arising out of doctor error.

* I'm fine with Dr. Horn continuing with this model if she's insured; nobody questions her life style choices. If she isn't, perhaps she can make an arrangement with her employer to have her malpractice coverage include this concierge business in exchange for a portion of Dr. Horn's fee.
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0 #8 Scarsdale parent 2013-07-12 00:26
I think the commenter is missing the point of Dr. Debbie's services-- at least how I interpreted them. Parents aren't idiots. No one thinks she travels with an x-ray machine, and if the situation is serious of course we would take our kids straight to the ER. But if your child complains of a sore throat or ear pain and you can't get in to dr before you get on a plane and need a strep test, you can call her. At least that is how I see the service advertised.

Also, while the article did not point out the fee, that information is advertised right on dr. Debbie's website (where local pediatrician obviously got the info easily.) the article links to her site. Parents are advised of the cost, and know whether their own insurances cover for out of network if and its up to them to choose the best after hours service that works for them depending on the situation.

My point is that I was not offended by the article, advertising or not, and appreciate another service being offered to me if I choose it.
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0 #7 To Scarsdale Parent 2013-07-11 23:34
I'm afraid you didn't read the other comments carefully enough, or lack the ability to understand them. Nobody's challenging Dr. Horn's abilities, work hours, or lack of office space. There are plenty of doctors like Horn who practice "concierge medicine," responsibly and FULL TIME, so as to cover the costs of their malpractice insurance: doing so, as you mention, in a way that doesn't compete with other service models.

The reality is, that given the cost of malpractice insurance, especially as a sole practioner, Dr. Horn would have to see far more patients than she does just to make a profit, even at her $250 cost. I seriously doubt the malpractice policy she's under from her employers covers her own personal moonlightlng. Notice Dr. Horn's silence here. My only issue with her working part time is how on earth she could afford this malpractice insurance under this lower revenue part time business model and still clear profit; hence my question if she even has this essential coverage to practice medicine.

You don't sign a waiver at your regular Pediatrician's office?! I should hope not:; they have insurance! (clearly you don't understand the point here). Furthermore, I'm not saying Dr. Horn makes you sign one. What I am saying is that if she lacks insurance, she'd be a dam ass fool if she DIDN'T make you sign one, (that's even assuming the duress under which you sign it would make it legally enforceable) and you'd be a damn us fool to let her put a hand on your child if she doesn't have insurance from which you can recover compensation if she makes mistakes in her care--which even the best doctors are capable of.

As for your insurance, please tell me what insurance you have that reimburses, even in part, concierge medicine, as if that's even the point here.

You can't drive a jalopy off your driveway and on to the street without it being insured. But you're going to risk your kid being seen by quite possibly an un/under-insure d Pediatrician, all for the sake of convenience? If so, you have a fool for a doctor, and they have a fool for a patient's guardian.

Really, many Pediatricians don't take insurance? Outside of high end urban practices and concierge medicine, NO Pediatrician could survive WITHOUT taking insurance.

So, do you understand NOW while Dr. Horn is being scrutinized more? It's about insurance!!

Just for nebulizer treatment alone, I could list scenarios, granted unlikely, where a child with, say, an unknown heart defect "codes," and God forbid becomes permanently commatose. Whose insurance do you plan on litigating to pay the costs of this child's care thereafter?

I'm not your criticizer; I'm your wake up call.

Finally, if the author of this piece or the publisher want to right a fluff/promo piece, I'm fine with that. Just say so. Otherwise, consider what facts readers would want to know before taking pen to paper.
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0 #6 localpediatrician 2013-07-11 22:02
one more important medical point.....if it is an emergency, you should bring your child to an emergency room or urgent care center which is set up to handle more critical cases....in that setting, there would be the appropriate medication, staff, xrays, and lab facitlites which will help care for your child quickly and correctly....
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