St. Mary’s initiated the Hospitalist Service in October 2006. The use of Hospitalists is a growing trend in U.S. hospitals. About 12,000 Hospitalists practice today and the number is expected to grow to 25,000 by 2010, according to the Society of Hospital Medicine in Philadelphia.
A Hospitalist is a physician who specializes in inpatient treatment and only cares for patients who are admitted to the hospital. When a patient requires hospitalization and when the patient’s primary care physician (PCP) has voluntarily chosen to participate in the service, the patient’s care will be directed by the Hospitalist. The Hospitalist will discuss treatment options, answer questions for the patient and his/her family, monitor test results, obtain consultations when needed, and respond to any changes in the patient’s condition. Essentially, the Hospitalist becomes a member of the patient’s ongoing medical team, working along with the Primary Care Physician, to most effectively provide treatment when hospitalization is needed. Once the patient is discharged from the hospital, the patient’s Primary Care Physician will provide any necessary follow up. If patients do not have a Primary Care Physician, the Hospitalist can assist them in finding one.
The Hospitalist works closely with the PCP through regular communication and updates on the patient’s progress and work. Since Hospitalists devote 100% of their time to a hospital-based practice, community-based primary care physicians can devote their time to seeing their patients in the office. Many leading hospitals in the region and around the country use this type of physician, including St. Peter’s, Seton Health, Ellis Hospital, Saratoga Hospital, and now St. Mary’s.
Dr Jeremiah Benoit, MD is the Director of Hospitalist Medicine.
“Primary care doctors whose practice is based in the community are busy seeing patients in their offices and may have limited time to visit their patients when they enter the hospital,” states Dr. Tim Shoen, Medical Director for St. Mary’s Hospital. “Our study of the Hospitalist Service shows that even minor delays in ordering tests or discharging patients can be improved through the coordinated efforts of the Hospitalist and the Primary Care Physician. So we are recruiting Hospitalists and implementing this service with the support of most of our medical community.”
For more information on the Hospitalist Service at St. Mary’s Hospital at Amsterdam, call the Medical Affairs Department at 841-7122.