The hospitalist program model exist. And, it is up to the patients and the patients' loved ones to make dog-gone sure that the hospitalist (who does not know the patient) cooperates, communicates and coordinates with patients' clinic physicians (who knows the patients' medical hx beyond charting note sound bites.)
Advocating in the hospital is not merely being a quiet observer. No way. And here are just a few tips:
1. Sit in the hospital room,
2. Call the clinic physician everyday and force cooperation between the hospitalists and the clinic physician. Too bad if that is inconvenient for the clinic physician. The most important person during the hospitalization is the patient. Period.
3. Demand that non-critical medical consults be "pre-approved"
Be an advocate. Not a silent advocate. Be a real, active and if necessary pain in the derriere advocate.
As with an opportunity to make a buck, companies exist to provide hospitalists to hospitals. Now your local hospital can actually outsource hospital care. Good grief.
IPC: The Hospitalist Company. For this company, it is all about the buck and bottom line:
Our broad base of operations in over 300 facilities – from large tertiary teaching hospitals to small community hospitals, LTACs and SNFs – helps us understand both the common success factors and the individual nuances necessary for success in a hospitalist program. IPC has a long history of adding value to hospitals across the country. The combination of our technology and infrastructure leads to efficiencies that strive to reduce costs and increase patient satisfaction. Some of the goals our hospitalists work toward for the facilities they serve include:
∑ Provide high quality patient care
∑ Develop financial independence for their practice to reduce costs for their facility
∑ Enhance clinical standardization and compliance
∑ Improvements to ER throughput
∑ Lower lengths of stay
∑ High standards for core measure clinical performance
Check out the IPC website and be educated about whether your local hospital actually outsourced its hospital care. Then, ask yourself: who is going to be accountable for the IPC hospitalist? Who employs the hospitalist?
Do the clinic and hospital physicians even work for the same employer? (If the clinic physician and the hospital physician work for the same employer then there is at least a slim possibility that the patients' care will be coordinated.)
There is already a lack of accountability in fundamental aspects of medical care. Do we need more?