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Hospitalist Program

Hospitalists: Partners in Excellent Care

DCH has announced that it intends to select a single company for the management of the hospitalist services at both DCH Regional Medical Center and Northport Medical Center. Why does this matter? The DCH Health System’s vision is to be the provider of choice in our community by delivering excellent care. Hospitalists are a critical component in achieving this vision and producing excellent patient outcomes. 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.

Q: Which hospitals are included?

A: DCH will issue a request for proposals (RFP) for the exclusive management of this service at DCH Regional Medical Center and Northport Medical Center. Our current hospital medicine provider groups are eligible to participate in the RFP process. DCH’s ultimate goal is to find and select a partner that will best help us to consistently achieve the highest levels of care at both campuses.

Q: What is the process and timeline?

A: At this time, a hospitalist management company has not been selected nor is there a preferred company that is being targeted to manage the service. The RFP development, proposal review and selection process will take nearly a year and the chosen company should be in place by November. DCH has 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 process, we have asked PYA to meet with various physician and employee stakeholders to solicit their feedback and ensure their perspectives are reflected in the RFP and evaluation process.