Middleton company using technology to bring medical house calls into modern day

MIDDLETON, Wis. — A physician who makes house calls evokes memories of the past, of a kindly, experienced doctor carrying a black bag.

Middleton-based health care company Pivotal Health is bringing the house call into the 21st century.

If you’re a patient seeking urgent care but you don’t want to leave home, Pivotal Health can send a licensed clinician to you if you’re located in the greater Madison area or the city of Milwaukee.

The doctors and nurses address all the same ailments a regular urgent care clinic would.

“It’s pretty incredible,” Sal Braico, the CEO of Pivotal Health, said. “We can basically do anything that can be done in an urgent care clinic or in a primary care office. We can do a COVID-19 test right in your house. We can do a flu test. We can do a blood draw. We can even do X-rays right there in your home, office or dorm.”

Braico, who has over 20 years of experience as a health care entrepreneur, started the company in 2020. Pivotal Health started seeing its first patients in April 2021.

The company has treated over 2,000 patients to date.

Pivotal Health traces its roots to an unfortunate health care experience Braico had during the pandemic.

“I had a primary care appointment in spring of 2020,” he said. “The way it went down and just the whole process was just a mess. I got so frustrated and angry I went to one of my friends Pete Johnson and said we can do better.”

Pete Johnson is a fellow UW-Madison graduate and entrepreneur. Dr. Andrew Culp, who had been working as an emergency medicine physician in south-central Wisconsin for 15 years, joined the team a short time later.

“It’s a very different kind of health care,” Dr. Culp said. “The joy and relief at having someone be able to come to the home and take care of something that isn’t an emergency and doesn’t need the full, expensive hospital experience is something I’ve been waiting to do my whole medical career. I’ve been doing house calls for friends and family for years and I see the value in it,” he said.

When patients have an urgent or immediate care problem, they can quickly schedule an appointment on the Pivotal Health website or mobile application or by calling the company’s toll-free number: 888-688-4746.

Through the app, Pivotal Health displays a picture of the clinician who will be coming to see the patient. “Our clinician is typically a nurse practitioner or a physician assistant,” Braico said. “They come to the home wearing Pivotal Health scrubs and bringing all the necessary equipment,” he said.

Transparency in pricing is a big part of Pivotal Health’s mission. The company tells patients up front what their out-of-pocket costs will be.

“If you order something from Amazon or you order anything online, you pay for it up front,” Braico said. “With health care that clarity is not there. You have no idea walking into that appointment how much it will cost. We do know so we can tell you.”

Pivotal Health is currently contracted with UnitedHealthcare, Blue Cross Blue Shield, The Alliance, Humana, Cigna and Medicare. Cash prices for a visit range from $75 to $175 depending on the services provided.

“The patients experience it once and they realize, ‘Holy cow, this is great,'” Dr. Culp said. “I’ll go to the hospital if I need it to or go to the clinic but for everything else, I’m going to use Pivotal.”