Podiatrist focuses on body’s foundation, offers house callsPodiatrist, foot-ankle surgeon and physical-therapy doctor Michael Korbol says he opened his 111 W. Walnut St. practice, named Wisconsin House Calls, last Monday, with 30 years of experience and lots of furniture from Second Chances.
By: Debbie Griffin, River Falls Journal
Podiatrist, foot-ankle surgeon and physical-therapy doctor Michael Korbol says he opened his 111 W. Walnut St. practice, named Wisconsin House Calls, last Monday, with 30 years of experience and lots of furniture from Second Chances.
His private-practice business model includes making house calls, taking one kind of insurance -- Medicare -- and listing or giving all charges up front.
Korbol plans to serve both Pierce and St. Croix counties but is willing to travel farther if patients need him.
He’ll also offer a free Saturday-morning clinic for high school and college students beginning Sept. 8 -- see related sidebar.
Asked what problem brings people to him most often, Korbol says: “Pain. It’s a big motivator.”
People can experience any problems in a long list that affect the feet: Arthritis, bunions, hammer toes, corns and callouses, gout, plantar fasciitis, tendonitis, spurs, diabetes, fungal toenails, athlete’s foot, ingrown toenails, warts, shin splints, fractures, sprains and injuries of the foot and ankle and calf-muscle problems.
Korbol also offers sports-medicine solutions for the lower extremity, shoe-gear advice, custom-made and prescribed foot and ankle foot orthotics and more.
He said the issues tend to vary with age.
For example young people usually have sports injuries or ingrown toenails; a middle-aged person might experience tendonitis or a bone spur; senior may be more affected by arthritis and poor circulation as often found with diabetes.
One thing his years of experience have made obvious: Patients often have a hard time getting to appointments.
They usually have pain in the foundation of the body or have just had surgery. Mobility is a problem for many, and some don’t have transportation.
“Through the years I’d done an occasional house call,” said Korbol.
The doctor said the concept of “resurrecting house calls” had been on his mind for years. So now he decided it was time to make it happen.
Korbol moved to River Falls from Altoona in January, having gotten to know the western Wisconsin area while at graduate school in Eau Claire. He said local doctor Dr. Timothy Steinmetz is a pre-medical school classmate of his and is now Korbol’s regular doctor. The podiatrist also works as a board-certified surgeon through Hudson hospital.
Korbol has 25 years of experience as a podiatrist and surgeon and 30 years of experience as a physical therapist.
He agrees that private practice, especially house calls, seems a thing of the past but definitely has a place in podiatry.
Korbol says working with any medical group is expensive since it includes business staff, specialized insurance people and many kinds of technology.
By doing most things himself -- though he will have an office manager at some point -- he can keep costs down and offer patients options.
Korbol said about his practice, “The primary goal is to keep people walking,” adding that maintaining mobility is essential for independence and wellbeing.
The doctor, except in rare cases where he might need an assistant to help, will make the house calls by himself and encourages patients to have another person present during the visit or perhaps set up a video camera. He wants them to think about what they’ll need to feel safe.
His goal is to, “Offer them security and comfort any way they want,” he said.
Korbol explains that ‘podiatry’ involves issues with the foot and ankle, often the lower leg comes into play -- for example with a torn calf muscle. He said physical therapy can alleviate many foot-ankle problems.
Korbol says he sees a lot of issues caused by systemic medical conditions and pays attention to what’s going on in the other areas of a patient’s body.
Korbol also helps people pinpoint the correct problem.
For example, he saw a woman who wanted her bunions removed but really needed treatment for rheumatoid arthritis before the bunions could be fixed.
An initial podiatry house call costs $125 or less plus a mileage fee of $1 per mile. An initial podiatry office visit costs $101 or less. A house call for physical therapy cost $79 plus mileage.
The doctor confirms what he says on his website: “You will always have the opportunity to know all fees up front. Just ask or I’ll tell you.”
Korbol’s hours are 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday. He’ll see patients after hours or on weekends and holidays for a convenience fee of $49. Payment is expected at the time of the visit.
The doctor said he still has several long to-do lists and some additional goals for the future, but Wisconsin House Calls is open and ready to see patients.
Dr. Michael Korbol, podiatrist and physical therapy doctor, welcomes high school and UW-River Falls students to visit for a free consultation on foot-ankle issues, which he’ll offer on Saturday mornings Sept. 8 through the end of 2012.
- 8:30-11:30 a.m. Saturdays at 111 W. Walnut St.
Korbol says the free-clinic Saturdays do not require an appointment, and drop-in visits are welcome. He intends for the free clinics to provide students an opportunity to ask questions, get a medical opinion or get information about physical therapy.
Learn about Korbol on his Web site, www.wisconsinhousecalls.com; by calling 715-492-1294; or by emailing to email@example.com.