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A couple of years ago I got a cold. A bad cold. I was in the middle of training for two different 5Ks. I was towards the beginning of the schedule for one of them (I was doing that one with Fiona) and near the end of the schedule for the other. So, I was walking and/or running for about half an hour a day, six days a week. Nothing terribly strenuous.
But when I got that bad cold, everything in my body told me to take a week off from running. And I didn’t listen. I had momentum and didn’t want to stop.
By the end of that week I couldn’t get off of the couch. Five days later I finally told my husband that I needed to go to the doctor. Whatever I had wasn’t going away.
The monumental effort it took me to walk from the sidewalk where Omer stopped the car to the elevator to my doctor’s office almost killed me. My doctor took a quick look at me, told me I had pneumonia, and sent me on my way with a prescription. I would have given anything for a house call.
The Pager App
Fast forward to now. It all would have been so different. I would have grabbed my iPod, opened up the Pager app, and described what was going on. A triage nurse at the Pager office would decide if I needed to see a nurse practitioner or doctor (or needed to bypass Pager and call 911). The app would tell me who was available, what time they would be at my house, and let me confirm the appointment. And then I would wait for the board-certified doctor or nurse to arrive, in the comfort of my own home, and I could text with them if I had any questions or needed to give them special instructions.
I tried out the pager service earlier this week. I’d had access to it for a month and had been waiting to see if anybody needed it for something more serious. But we’re a pretty healthy bunch, and in that time nobody needed anything! So, with the due date for this post coming up, I used the app to get a flu shot, which somehow I hadn’t managed to get yet this year.
A nurse practitioner was at my door in about an hour, carrying a very organized backpack with everything she needed for house calls.
She spread everything out on my coffee table/footstool and got to work. She asked me some questions to make sure I was OK to have a flu shot. She cleaned her hands and my arm and gave me the shot. And then she put on a Pager bandage – nice touch! The entire process, from when she entered my house to when was packed up and ready to go, took about five minutes.
She said that so far she’s mostly been sent out on sick kid calls. I remember when my kids were little, getting them to the doctor was a miserable experience. I wish this had existed ten years ago!
What Pager Can Do
Some other times when I definitely would have used Pager? When my husband twisted his ankle running for the subway and it swelled up to the size of a grapefruit. When I sliced my finger open trying to clean a cheap waffle maker. When I forgot to get a flu shot for Fiona and she had a super-high fever and could barely move. When I dropped a giant can of tomatoes on my foot.
The number of things they can do in an in-home visit is impressive. If I need an X-ray, Pager can make that happen (they’ve contracted with a mobile X-ray company). If I need stitches, they’re prepared to do that. They can also do blood tests. If I’ve burned myself or have some kind of minor skin problem, they can treat that. If I need a prescription, they get it and bring it to me at no extra charge (although they cannot prescribe narcotics).
And Pager doesn’t just cover urgent care, either. They do preventative stuff as well – physicals and health checks, even camp forms!! I’ve run into an insurance issue with Fiona’s camp forms where each year the date when we’re eligible to get Fiona’s yearly visit creeps later and later. This year she can’t get her physical until July 8th! Instead, as soon as her camp publishes the forms, I’m getting Pager to come back and give her a physical and fill out her forms. No waiting, and it will be much cheaper than paying out of pocket for a doctor’s visit with her pediatrician.
I was able to try the service for free (and you can too!), but if I’d needed to pay, Pager accepts Health Savings Account cards – very important, since that basically means I’d be paying with pre-tax money, in effect lowering the cost.
The first visit from Pager is usually $50, but if you use code SELFISHMOM you can get your first visit for free! This code is good until January 31st, 2016.
After that, a normal visit is $200, or a physical (including camp/school/work paperwork) is $100. A phone consultation is $25. Labs and X-rays are extra, as are prescriptions (but they’ll deliver them to you at no extra charge). And you never have to leave your house (or job, or hotel room)!
For insurance purposes, Pager is considered an out-of-network provider, and they will help you submit a claim to your insurance company. They’re working on becoming in-network.
Where To Find Pager
Right now, Pager is available in NYC (all five boroughs) and San Francisco, but they’ll be expanding to more cities (register on the site and they’ll let you know when they open up!). The service is available from 8am to 10pm, seven days a week.
I can’t recommend this service highly enough. The nurse practitioner who visited me was thoroughly professional. The app worked great. I already get my groceries and most other things delivered to my house. Now I can stay home and have health care delivered too!
Don’t forget, use the code SELFISHMOM to try Pager out for yourself.