A HouseCalls visit helps save member from potentially fatal blood clot

When Todd Hagan answered the door late last year for his HouseCalls visit, he never thought the person on the other side would help save his life.

Michelle Lynch, a nurse practitioner for HouseCalls in Iowa, began her visit with Todd like many others she completes each year — starting with reviewing his medical history and assessing any pain he was experiencing.

Todd explained he was in the hospital for COVID-19 earlier in the year and had developed blood clots in his lungs. A couple months prior to his HouseCalls visit, he underwent foot surgery. Michelle noticed right away he was still experiencing swelling throughout his leg. He also had pain behind his knee, which was another red flag, making Michelle more suspicious of a clot. Finally, Todd shared there was a family history with blood clots.

She called his doctor’s office, and they recommended that Todd go to the emergency room immediately. Todd told Michelle he would be seeing his podiatrist the following day, but Michelle was still on the phone with the doctor’s office and they both stressed he needed to go today.

“I believe my persistence and explanation, plus the insistence of the primary care physician is what got him to go,” Michelle said.

When Todd arrived at the ER, an ultrasound revealed a potentially fatal blood clot in his leg. Todd realized he could have ended up with another clot in his lung, if this wasn’t immediately addressed.

“I owe her a lot for suggesting that,” Todd said.

Todd’s story is a prime example of the power of HouseCalls. The yearly in-home health and wellness service provides most UnitedHealthcare Medicare and Medicaid members the chance to have licensed medical staff come to their home for wellness checkups, health screenings, pain assessments, medication review, and to help answer health questions they may have. And, perhaps most importantly, listen.

HouseCalls has a 99% satisfaction rate among members — and 91% of seniors receiving a HouseCalls visit welcome a follow-up visit the next year.

What’s more, these routine visits can be an important part of overall health. Due to concerns related to COVID-19, an estimated 41% of U.S. adults had delayed or avoided medical care in 2020, including urgent or emergency care (12%) and routine care (32%). To date, UnitedHealthcare has provided more than 10 million HouseCalls visits, including telehealth services when needed.

For Todd, he’s forever grateful for HouseCalls, and for Michelle’s assessment, timing and guidance.

“Michelle was absolutely wonderful,” Todd said. “It was like a friend coming to visit me.”

Having that high-touch point of care — along with coordination with a member’s provider when appropriate — can make all the difference in the world for the health of a member.

“I love going into people’s homes and spending time with them,” Michelle said. “I feel very fortunate to have the opportunity to be able to be such an essential part of the member-centered health care team.”

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