LOS ANGELES — On any given day, you will find Dr. Alex Foxman checking in on patients virtually.
What You Need To Know
- Dr. Alex Foxman founded Mobile Physician Associates in 2009, a mobile medical practice group that serves the frail, elderly, and disabled population in Southern California
- Foxman serves approximately 600 patients through his mobile medical practice and says this part of the population make up 5% to 10% of patients who account for 40% to 50% of costs in the healthcare system
- He said high-risk patients who are homebound or bedbound cannot physically leave their residence to get a COVID-19 vaccine shot
- L.A. County Public Health said it is considering plans to allocate COVID-19 vaccine doses to private, independent physician practices but not until they have enough vaccine supply
Foxman is the founder of Mobile Physician Associates and said telemedicine is not new for him. In fact, he has been doing it since 2009, long before the pandemic started.
"As you know, Los Angeles is a very big place to go from Santa Monica to Pasadena is a big job," Foxman said. "So we have a lot of technology that we put in place, such as an Uber for doctors to be able to schedule patients.
Foxman not only checks up on patients over video calls, but he also makes house calls. He will even do bloodwork and X-rays on the spot because many of his patients cannot physically leave their homes or even their bedrooms.
"Even though our average age is 86, we have many patients in between that have many, many years of life expectancy still, so these are not patients who could be considered hospice at the end of their life," he said. "These are patients who have actually severe chronic conditions that cannot get medical care unless someone came to them."
That includes access to the COVID-19 vaccine for patients like Norbert Courcelle, a 79-year-old U.S. Army veteran who lives in West Hollywood. He has diabetes, suffered a major stroke two years ago, and had a fall recently. Courcelle cannot physically leave his apartment to line up for the vaccine.
"I was in the hospital recently, and you know, I've been trying. I've been thinking about getting that vaccine every day, just to protect me, just in case," Courcelle said.
However, Foxman cannot give him the COVID-19 vaccine either. He said he is cleared by the L.A. County Department of Public Health to administer the shot but has not received doses for his 600 patients who are homebound.
"At this time, L.A. County Public Health is considering plans to allocate doses to private, independent physician practices but not until we have enough vaccine supply," county public health officials told Spectrum News. "Note that we are currently only using 1/3 of the weekly vaccination capacity of more than 600,000 doses in our current provider network."
Foxman said he understands the vaccine rollout is a huge undertaking but said high-risk patients could get infected either by a caregiver or family member while stuck at home, and they are left behind in vaccination efforts. He wants to keep them out of the hospital.
"They make up the 5% to 10% of patients who make up 40% to 50% of the costs in our healthcare system," he said.
His team already administers other vaccines, like the flu shot, to patients and has a system in place they could use for the COVID-19 vaccine.
"We could probably vaccinate our entire population within a couple of weeks," he said.