Something Old Becomes Something New…

The house call is really the oldest established part of what is now CHOP (Community Healthcare Outreach Program), thanks to the first generation of what is now Salerno Medical Associates (SMA)— Dr. Alfonse Salerno. who with wife, Dr. Svetlana Salerno, devoted a combined 105 years of treating patients in the communities of East Orange and Newark. Their son, Dr. Alexander G. Salerno, is now Chief of Staff of SMA, but he learned the value of community outreach from his father and has taken it even a step further:

“I just thought it was kind of what my Dad used to do, going out on house calls” he recalls. “I used to go out with him when I was a kid. I just expanded on the house call model to provide house calls in churches and civic centers and barber shops and food pantries and, you know, behavioral health centers and places like that where people congregate.”


From SHOP to CHOP…

This was SHOP (Senior Healthcare Outreach Program), the beginning of the community outreach initiative that subsequently became CHOP. It is currently the longest ongoing outreach program serving Essex County.

The House Call Program is primarily for seniors and aging folks living at home. It is not always easy for the aged and infirmed, especially with weather, transportation and all kinds of issues of getting out and about. With unattended health issues, their isolation and immobility tend to get worse, and then you have the snowball effect.

As the Baby Boomers started coming into the age, the demographics and characteristics of seniors have changed a lot, which means that reaching out to seniors to provide health care has to change too.

Seniors are now far more independent than they were 10 or15 years ago, says Dr. Salerno. They tend to be more outgoing, not as homebound and more into technology with smart phones and computers. Even though some may be technologically challenged, they too have access to websites and the contact names and numbers they need to benefit from the House Call Program.

The house call itself is the only part of it that remains old-fashioned.


—“That’s basically good old fashioned house calls where clinicians and physical therapists and pharmacists go to patients’ homes, apartments, boarding homes,” Dr. Salerno says. “We are there to see patients and provide identical, mirror-image services that one would historically get in an office setting.” —


Finding CHOP to take advantage of this program is easier in many ways, but there are still patients out there who need to be found. Aside from prospective patients, family members, neighbors or caregivers can make the contact. Once they get the name of the prospective homebound patient at CHOP, they make the contact within seven days of the request and then do the initial intake assessment and evaluation. They assess the home to determine the prospective patient’s needs such as a hospital bed or shower bench. They also look for tripping and other hazards.

By bringing in a team of experts to visit your facility on a regular basis, CHOP can provide early on-site treatment intervention of controllable and curable diseases like diabetes, cholesterol, high blood pressure, and cancer screenings. This can save patients from unnecessary disease and illness, and negate unnecessary and costly hospital visits.

They coordinate with nursing assistants, visiting nurse agencies, outpatient facilities, physical therapists and various other providers so, as Dr. Salerno puts it, “we really try to not only to bring ourselves but we bring our rolodex of other services as well.”


— Call 973-676-0955 to learn more about CHOP and its House Call Program for homebound seniors—