Hospitalists are board-certified internal medicine or family practice physicians who specialize in the care of hospitalized patients. Because these doctors practice at the hospital exclusively, they are well versed in the systems and procedures of the hospital and have become experts in managing inpatient care efficiently and effectively. Hospitalists specialize in all aspects of a patient's care from admission until discharge. Hospitals manage and coordinate the entire episode of care, working closely with specialists involved.
Who's on the Hospitalist Team?
In addition to physicians, your hospitalists team may include physician assistants (PAs) or Nurse Practitioners (NPs). The Hospitalists function as a team and it is likely that you will see several hospitalist team members during your stay. This team approach enables more coordinated care and improved access to your care providers.
Why is a hospitalist caring for me?
This allows your primary care doctor to devote his/her attention to managing patients in the office and thus enables your primary care doctor to be more accessible within the office. Many primary care physicians have established agreements with hospitals to care for their patients when they require hospitalization.
What is the relationship between the hospitalist and my primary care physician?
These doctors work together. The hospitalist is in communication with your regular physician by phone as often as necessary to provide the best care when you are hospitalized. Your primary care provider will provide your hospitalist with essential information about your history and current medications. If you have had a conversation with your primary care physician about end of life care and/or you have an advance directive, you should discuss this with the hospitalist who may then clarify with your primary care physician if needed.
Many office physicians have ready access to the hospital's computer information about you and use this to stay informed. At the time of your admission and discharge, the Hospitalist will provide important details about your hospitalization to your primary care physician. The expectation is that shortly after your discharge, you will visit your primary care physician for follow-up. If you do not have a primary care physician, your hospitalist will help refer you to one.
Will I receive a bill from the Hospitalist?
Yes. Since a Hospitalist provided you medical care in the hospital, you will receive a separate bill for their services just as you would from any other physician who treats you or provides services to you, such as interpreting diagnostic tests, while you are hospitalized.