Objective. By 2030, the number of permanently homebound individuals in the US will increase by 50% to reach 2 million. However, no medicine subspecialty consult services exist for this rising subset of the population. This pilot program establishes a rheumatology consult service for the Mount Sinai Visiting Doctors, the largest primary care academic home visit program in the nation serving more than 1,000 patients in New York City. Our service addresses the unmet need for homebound patients with rheumatic diseases, and secondarily provides an educational opportunity for trainees in community-based rheumatology. Methods. Using an electronic medical record, home-based primary care physicians sent consult requests to the Rheumatology Division. Initial assessments were made using the Routine Assessment of Patient Index Data 3 (RAPID3) questionnaire. Results. Over 12 months, 57 home visits were made: 31 new consults and 26 followup visits. Reasons for referral included medical management of a known connective tissue disease, question of inflammatory rthritis, and procedures. The demographics for new consults were as follows: 94% women, 45% Hispanic, and 80% between ages 60 and 101 years. Thirty-nine percent of patients had rheumatoid arthritis. Treatment interventions included addition of a diseasemodifying antirheumatic drug in 11 patients, 11 procedures, nonpharmacologic management in 8 patients, and a change in the dose of the existing medication in 5 patients. At the initial evaluation, the average RAPID3 scores for patients reflected high severity of disease. Conclusion. The number of consults and the severity of disease seen highlight the importance of a rheumatologist's role in the community, especially because the number of homebound patients will dramatically increase in the future.
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