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March 15, 2006

House Call Trends—Reply

Author Affiliations

Letters Section Editor: Robert M. Golub, MD, Senior Editor.

JAMA. 2006;295(11):1251-1252. doi:10.1001/jama.295.11.1252a

In Reply: Dr Remakus suggests that the increase in house calls to Medicare beneficiaries from 1998 to 2004 is unlikely to be related to Medicare's increase in reimbursement for home visits in 1998. Although our analysis was unable to determine the exact reasons that this increase occurred, he is incorrect when he states that we referenced the allowed charge for the highest-level home visit to an established patient (99350) in our report. The charge of $110 is the 2004 charge allowed by Ohio's Medicare carrier for a 99349 code, which he correctly cites as one of the most commonly used.1 Our nonstandard use of “comprehensive” in this context may have been confusing, because a 99350 code requires a “comprehensive” examination. It would have been more precise for us to have simply referred to the specific code (99349).