Local doctor pays house calls with mobile medical service
Dr. JP Saleeby wants to make a career change that eventually would take him out of the emergency room and into a patient's living room or office.
Saleeby, an emergency room doctor for the past 16 years, and his wife, Sharon, a respiratory therapist at the Medical University of South Carolina Children's Hospital, launched Carolina Mobile MD in October.
With it, the Saleebys will bring care to patients rather than having patients come to them. JP Saleeby integrates traditional and alternative medicine but focuses on hormone management in his house-call practice. The Saleebys geared their fee-for-service practice to the busy professional who wants to save time by avoiding a waiting room and spend more of it with a doctor. They do not take insurance and plan to offer services to patients living within a two-hour drive of the Charleston area.
Saleeby said he was inspired to make house calls because of what he's seen as the emergency room director at Marlboro Park Hospital in Bennettsville. There, Saleeby has treated a steady flow of patients who come to the E.R. with preventable problems, consequences of diabetes and hypertension, and avoidable heart attacks and strokes.
Nationally, hospital emergency rooms have reported an increase in patients, but a decline in the actual number of emergency cases, Saleeby said. More and more people come in with requests to refill prescriptions, complaining of chronic pain or with symptoms of minor illness, cases not meant for an E.R.
As an emergency room doctor, Saleeby said, he has just a few moments to make a diagnosis. His mobile program would allow him to spend 60-90 minutes with a patient, longer than a typical doctor-patient interaction.
Sharon Saleeby said medicine of today focuses on treating disease rather than preventing illness. The couple plan to take a different approach in their practice, offering patients a prescription for healthier living. Beyond the routine physical, JP Saleeby might also recommend an exercise regimen and vitamins, supplements and herbs for a patient to take.
Saleeby had a practice in Savan-nah but closed it in 2004 and later moved to the Florence area to make a home with his wife, a Mount Pleasant native. He's continued to see some of that practice's former patients via the Web and through house calls.
Arguably, Saleeby could offer the same care in a brick-and-mortar practice. But a mobile practice allows him to avoid overhead costs: office equipment, staff and waiting room.
Reach Jessica Johnson at email@example.com.