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Hospitalist Program

Hospitalists: Partners in Excellent Care

DCH is pleased to announce that Capstone Health Services Foundation and IN Compass Health have been selected to jointly provide hospitalist medicine services at both DCH Regional Medical Center and Northport Medical Center. The contract will be effective Oct. 1, 2021, at Northport Medical Center and Nov. 1, 2021, at DCH Regional Medical Center.

Capstone submitted an innovative proposal that included a partnership with the IN Compass Health, a highly regarded physician staffing and management company based in Alpharetta, GA. IN Compass will provide operational oversight and expertise and will be responsible for day-to-day operations of the hospitalist program. They also will work with Capstone in the recruitment, selection and hiring of physicians. Capstone will employ the physicians who will work within the DCH hospitalist program.

Notably, Capstone and IN Compass understand the importance of hiring the highest quality health care providers who are from or will live in the local communities where they work. Fortunately, Capstone already employs many exceptional local physicians who will be invited to continue to serve as hospitalists at DCH Regional Medical Center and Northport Medical Center through this partnership.

The selection was made after a rigorous, objective evaluation process conducted by DCH with input from physicians from different specialties along with the help and expertise of PYA, a nationally recognized consulting group that specializes in coordinating the Request for Proposal (RFP) process and evaluating the responses.

Following are some questions and answers related to the change.

Q: What is a hospitalist?

A: The term hospitalist was first coined in the mid-’90s, but the approach has been used by hospitals across the country for much longer than that. The American Board of Physician Specialists defines hospitalists as “… physicians who have dedicated their careers to hospitalized patients.” They are medical specialists who usually complete their residency in internal medicine or family medicine and then focus on providing care to hospital patients.

Q: Why are hospitalists needed?

A: It used to be that a primary care physician, such as a family medicine or internal medicine doctor, would manage a patient’s care in the clinic and in the hospital. Over time, several factors have pushed that model to change. Ever evolving medical record systems are allowing for greater connectivity between hospitals and clinics, which has increasingly provided more seamless transitions between inpatient and outpatient care.

The increased connectivity is good because there is a shortage of primary care providers in most areas of the country. This means primary care providers are much busier in their clinics and have less time to be able to visit patients in the hospital. Additionally, advances in treatments and technology have led to people living longer with chronic conditions, which means many patients tend to be sicker when they need hospital care.

Q: Why can’t my primary care doctor see me in the hospital?

A: Hospitalist care is not designed to disrupt the relationship with your primary care doctor. While a primary care physician can visit and treat their patients in the hospital (if they have applied for and received hospital privileges), hospitalists usually become the primary provider for patients in the hospital and are responsible for coordinating care with specialists and hospital employees.

Q: Why is a hospitalist management company needed?

A: The highest performing hospitalist companies help create better integration and connectivity with community physicians. Additionally, a good hospitalist management company will bring insights and best practices gained from the best organizations around the country. The company will partner with the hospital to implement those learnings to increase the level of care provided. Partnering with one company that can staff both DCH Regional Medical Center and Northport Medical Center and manage the program at both campuses will help ensure quality, continuity and consistency of care, as the same providers, using the same care models, will be delivering care at both locations.

Q: Which hospitals are included?

A: The provider will manage this service at both DCH Regional Medical Center and Northport Medical Center. DCH’s ultimate goal is to consistently achieve the highest levels of care at both campuses.

Q: What was the selection process?

A: The RFP selection process, is the best, fairest and most objective way to choose a hospitalist management company. The RFP was developed and interested groups, including the two current hospitalist companies, were invited to submit proposals. DCH contracted with PYA, P.C. a nationally recognized consulting group to assist with all components of the RFP and to facilitate the decision-making process. As part of this effort, PYA met with various physician and employee stakeholders to solicit their feedback and ensure their perspectives are reflected in the RFP and evaluation process.

Q: What is the timeline?

A: We will continue to work with Pinnacle Physician Group and University Hospitalist Group, our current providers of hospitalists, through the end of their respective contracts. The new contract will be effective Oct. 1 at Northport Medical Center and Nov. 1 at DCH Regional Medical Center. Between now and when the new contract is effective at each location, we will work with Capstone and IN Compass to ensure a seamless transition. As details are worked out over the next several months, we will provide updates and information about the transition process.

At DCH, patients are the top priority. The choice of Capstone and IN Compass to jointly provide hospitalist programs at both RMC and NMC is the right thing for patients and the community we serve.