Hospitals may want to consider old-fashioned house calls to reduce hospitalizations and improve patient satisfaction. A recent article in the American Journal of Managed Care, compared 156 elderly patients enrolled in a house call program to 146 patient who received usual care. After 6 months, patient satisfaction scores went up 18% for the house call patients, while the control group stayed the same. After 12 months, more than 37% of those in the control group were hospitalized, while only 26% of the house call patients were admitted. However, the total healthcare costs associated with the house call group did not decline because of costs associated with providing in-home care. Still, the significant reduction in hospitalizations could prove valuable for hospitals that are worried about excess 30-day readmissions. Medicare will begin penalizing hospitals that have above average readmission rates for heart attack, heart failure, and pneumonia patients starting October 1. Sending physicians, nurse practitioners, nurses, or social workers to check on patients recently discharged with those conditions could go a long way.