“They are elderly, and I make house calls if it’s too much of a burden for them to come to the office,” he says. “I also see them in nursing homes or retirement homes.” He also covers the office practice for the month of August so his practice partner can have the month off.
His wife, who fields home office phone calls, attends to the issues of 200 special patients and also tries to guide those looking for a primary care doctor to someone else willing to take them.
“My wife works very hard at managing my private practice,” says Dr. Eddy. “She’s a people person but is not soft-minded at all. She helps a lot of patients find primary care physicians who will take them on as well as fielding calls from my private patients.”
The Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) pays him on a fee-for-service basis. In 2000, when bureaucrats tried to avoid reimbursing him for making house calls by stipulating that at least 50% had to be for palliative care, he made a list of all 200 patients. He made his case for palliative care—“they’ll all die within four years.” The medical establishment accepted it, and he continues making house calls—for which he says the health authorities are relaxing the regulations.
As if the hospitalist and office practice weren’t enough, Dr. Eddy runs a small group practice CME program sponsored by McMaster University and the College of Family Physicians of Canada. “Six of us family physicians get together to discuss three cases based on handouts and a fact section” he says. The CME group meets twice a month for eight months of the year.
In short, Dr. Eddy describes himself as having energy to burn. His hospitalist colleague Dr. Kramer seconds that.
“The amount of work he does is phenomenal,” Dr. Kramer says. “He is very thorough, and it’s remarkable to see how much he still loves practicing medicine. It’s hard to believe that when he’s finished with his hospitalist job he heads off to his office practice, house calls, and nursing home work.”
And what does Dr. Eddy think of his colleagues?
“They seem quite young,” he says of Brantford’s cadre of six full-time and six part-time hospitalists. “But come to think of it most are in their 40s, and some in their 50s and 60s. Maybe they aren’t so young.” TH
Marlene Piturro is a frequent contributor to The Hospitalist.