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Hill Country Memorial expands hospitalist program


If you've ever heard, "I'm sorry for the wait, but your doctor has been called to the hospital," you understand the demands on a physician's time. Thanks to an expanded hospitalist program at Hill Country Memorial hospital in Fredericksburg launching in July, patients will soon have better access to doctors at their office and to on-site physicians, whenever they need them most.
Every hospitalist in HCM's program is a medical expert, designated to provide and coordinate care during a patient's hospital stay. They work in close coordination with a patient's primary care physician or surgeon, communicating with them regularly to ensure the care meets all expectations and to help coordinate any additional treatments, follow-up care, or medications needed at discharge.
"Two years ago we started a weekend hospitalist program and saw immediate benefits for everyone involved, especially the patient," said Dr. James R. Partin, Hill Country Memorial's chief medical officer. "With doctors on site 24 hours a day, patients receive the remarkable care they expect at Hill Country Memorial more quickly than ever before. It also enables primary care physicians and specialists to focus on patients in their office while still guiding inpatient care."
While patients save time at the hospital and at the doctor's office, hospitalist programs also help patients get home sooner to finish healing. A study cited in a 2007 New England Journal of Medicine article noted that these programs reduce the average length of stay in the hospital by nearly half a day. The study also noted a substantial decline in mortality rates within facilities that used hospitalists.
"We always seek the highest caliber of people and talent when we recruit physicians to join our family, and our hospitalists are no exception," added Dr. Partin. "In addition to their medical credentials, each member of the program is carefully screened to meet the distinct values of our hospital. They also must live here in Fredericksburg, unlike most hospitalist programs. We expect them to understand what it means to provide remarkable care and that starts by sharing our dedication to patients and our community."
For the physicians who are already part of the Fredericksburg community, there are additional benefits to their practice, according to Dr. Partin. By limiting their time commitments at the hospital, they can focus more on their current patients and potentially accept new patients.
"Just as our patients expect the best possible care and outcome, we have great expectations for our hospitalist program" added Partin. "Leading health care organizations that adopt these programs maintain or enhance the level of quality care, while reducing waiting times and patient stays. It is up to us to make our program remarkable, and everyone involved in our hospitalist program shares this commitment."