The mantra of improving quality of care while holding costs in check produces a continual stream of experiments in health care delivery. 

This month, we learn that Washington, D.C. is seeing the return of the house call — as a cost-saving measure — and that provision of free preventive care to patients with chronic conditions can reduce the need for more expensive free care down the road.

In other news, a physician-owned freestanding emergency room opens in Houston, providing 24/7 emergency care as an alternative to overcrowded hospital emergency departments.  The center does not participate in Medicare, but offers a maximum wait of 30 minutes, valet parking and gourmet coffee.

— David Harlow