Medicolegal Issues

Register Now for February’s SHM Leadership Academy


SHM’s Level I Leadership Academy is back. If you were unable to register for the sold-out September Academy, now is your chance. This semi-annual course will be held during the week of February 26–March 1, 2007, at the Gaylord Palms Resort and Convention Center in Orlando, Fla. This course gives attendees hands-on experience and a unique opportunity to learn from the best in the field. All previous Level I academies have sold out weeks in advance, so reserve your spot today by visiting for more information.

Hospital Medicine Fast Facts click for large version

click for large version

ASHP Foundation Launches New Hospital Pharmacist-Hospitalist Team Research Grant

Foundation seeks to encourage collaborative studies of VTE prevention

Venous thromboembolism (VTE) is a significant cause of morbidity and mortality in hospitals. It mostly affects patients with primary medical conditions; those who have had surgery for gynecologic, orthopedic, urologic, and vascular conditions; and those receiving care in critical care settings.

The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) Research and Education Foundation has created a new grant program sponsored by the Sanofi Aventis Group to support multidisciplinary research studies conducted by hospital pharmacists and hospitalists to prevent and treat VTE in hospitalized patients.

“Because the focus of a hospitalist is providing quality medical care for hospitalized patients and the unique medical problems that they may face as a result of being hospitalized, the ASHP Foundation felt it was important to offer hospital pharmacists an opportunity to partner with this group of physicians,” says Daniel J. Cobaugh, PharmD, FAACT, DABAT, ASHP Foundation director of research. “We wanted to focus the research grant on a major patient care issue that can be effectively addressed through hospital pharmacist-hospitalist collaborations. We believe this collaborative approach will have far-reaching implications for improving patient care and patient safety.”

“The hospital of the future will be based on patient-centered care, with measurable quality outcomes and delivered by teams of health professionals,” explains Larry Wellikson, MD, FACP, SHM CEO. “This collaborative process with hospital-based pharmacists and hospitalists working together to improve VTE care is just the kind of interdisciplinary teamwork that can serve as a beacon to lead us to a better future.”

Applications should emphasize the following:

  • Project objectives that address health services research related to the prevention and treatment of VTE;
  • Sound research methods that support the study objectives;
  • Interdisciplinary collaboration between hospital pharmacists and hospitalist physicians;
  • The potential for findings to be replicated in other healthcare facilities; and
  • Prudent use of grant funds.

Potential areas of research focus include the use of appropriate interventions to prevent VTE, optimization and monitoring of therapies used for VTE, ensuring continuity of care, provision of literacy-sensitive education to patients and caregivers, and health professional education.

Applications and detailed instructions for the Hospital Pharmacist-Hospitalist Collaboration: VTE Prevention and Treatment Team Grant is available on the ASHP Foundation Web site at The deadline for completed applications is March 1.

SHM Chapter reports

New Jersey

The New Jersey Chapter of SHM held a meeting in September at the Highlawn Pavilion in West Orange, N.J. A presentation titled “The Role of Hospitalists and Hypertension in the Inpatient” was given by Larry Bryd, MD. There were 23 attendees representing five hospital medicine groups in attendance. The meeting was sponsored by Ortho-Biotech. The next New Jersey Chapter meeting is scheduled for March or April 2007 and will take place in South Jersey.


The Boston chapter of SHM hosted nearly 50 attendees at its October meeting, held at Davio’s restaurant. The featured speaker was Geno Merli, MD, director of internal medicine at Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia. Dr. Merli spoke about “Key Issues in VTE Prevention.”

At press time the Boston chapter’s next meeting was scheduled for Dec. 7, 2006. The discussion was expected to be “An Influenza Pandemic: Is Your Hospitalist Program Ready?”


The Pittsburgh Chapter met in October and included five participants from three Pittsburgh-area hospitals. The speaker for the event was Frank Michota, MD, head, Section of Hospital Medicine, Department of General Medicine, the Cleveland Clinic Foundation. His presentation, “The Basics of Hospital Throughput—A Case Study in Acute Decompensated Heart Failure,” generated an excellent discussion on hospital throughput. An election for an acting president was conducted; Michael Cratty, MD, PhD, will serve as acting president. Additional elections will be held as the chapter grows. The next meeting will be held in January.

New York City

The New York City Chapter held an event at in October at March Restaurant in Manhattan. Steven L. Cohn, MD, FACP, chief, Division of General Internal Medicine, director of medical consultation service, and clinical professor of medicine at State University of New York Downstate, gave an update on perioperative medicine. The event was well attended. The evening was sponsored by the Sanofi Aventis Group.

SHM Launches New Grassroots Advocacy Tool

Grassroots involvement by SHM members is critical to our ability to influence health policy in Washington. That is why SHM has launched a powerful new advocacy tool designed to help you communicate quickly and effectively with your congressional representatives. Capwiz·XC, located in the “Advocacy” section of our Web site, enables you to take action on any issue important to hospital medicine by sending personalized communications to your elected officials.

Advocacy doesn’t have to require a big time commitment. Communicating with your representatives in Congress now takes just a few minutes at SHM’s Legislative Action Center. You can send an e-mail whenever it is convenient for you, and our action alerts contain sample text for you to use and personalize as desired. Physician payment reform, quality improvement, palliative care, and funding levels for the National Institutes of Health and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality are just a few of the many issues before the 110th Congress. You can help influence the debate, improve patient care, and increase the visibility of hospitalists by making your voice heard through Capwiz.

Capwiz has many other features that will help keep you informed and educated about the legislative process. These include an interactive map to help you find your elected officials. Simply enter your ZIP code or click on your state to find out who your elected officials are. From there, you can easily select one of the listed state or congressional officials to see the full legislative biography page. Each bio page includes direct links you can use to contact the legislator, look up his or her key votes, and find staff contact information. You’ll also find a plethora of information about each elected representative, including:

  • Office term;
  • Co-sponsorship status;
  • Contact information;
  • Party affiliation;
  • Political background;
  • Committee(s); and
  • PAC contributions.

Are you interested in looking up a piece of legislation recently mentioned in the news? Or do you want to monitor the various bills that will affect issues important to your practice? The “Legislative Action Center” in the “Advocacy” section contains “Issues and Legislation” to help you to stay on top of current legislation affecting healthcare. Keep track of any bill’s name, summary, co-sponsor(s), and key votes, while also monitoring SHM’s position on the legislation.

SHM is pleased to provide you with the opportunity to become more familiar with the political process and actively participate in influencing the policies that affect hospitalists and their patients. Capwiz contains up-to-the-minute legislative data and online tools to enable you to make a difference in the political process. Please visit our Legislative Action Center today at TH


A Closer Look at SHM’s Mission

By Joe Miller

Earlier this year, as I entered my second year in the position of senior vice president of SHM, my boss, Larry Wellikson, MD, asked me to take the lead in organizing a Senior Staff Planning Summit. The Summit was held in late August 2006.

In preparing for the Summit, I sought a framework that would help to guide a meaningful discussion among the participants. At first I turned to the SHM Mission Statement and Goals:

SHM mission statement: SHM is dedicated to promoting the highest quality care for all hospitalized patients. SHM is committed to promoting excellence in the practice of hospital medicine through education, advocacy, and research.

SHM goals:

  • To promote high-quality care for all hospitalized patients;
  • To promote education and research in hospital medicine;
  • To promote teamwork to achieve the best possible care for hospitalized patients;
  • To advocate a career path that will attract and retain the highest quality hospitalists;
  • To define the competencies, activities, and needs of the hospitalist community; and
  • To support, propose, and promote changes to the healthcare system that lead to higher quality and more efficient care for all hospitalized patients.

Although these were helpful, I did not feel they gave sufficient guidance to a planning session that would focus on specific programs, operational activities, and initiatives. I decided to concentrate on the “needs” that SHM attempts to address (see “Why SHM Exists,” below) and realized that our society exists to serve two masters: hospitalists as individuals and hospitalists as a group (the hospital medicine specialty):

  • Hospitalists: SHM exists to meet the needs of individuals with regard to education, facts and news, career satisfaction, networking with peers, and the provision of resources and services.
  • Hospital medicine specialty: Our specialty is just 10 years old. SHM exists to help define the specialty, track its growth and development, promote our accomplishments, develop leaders, advocate for public policy, encourage research and scholarly pursuits, and encourage innovation. We also seek to represent the diversity of hospital medicine, recognizing the unique roles of both community-based and academic hospitalists.

To address these needs, SHM has a first-rate staff that delivers service, develops products and programs, and manages projects. You have met the senior members of that group in this column (Geri Barnes, director of education and Quality Initiatives; Steve Poitras, director of business operations; Scott Johnson, director of information services; and Todd Von Deak, director of membership and marketing). We also have a group of consultants who provide exceptional expertise in specialty areas: Laura Allendorf (Advocacy and Public Policy), Tina Budnitz (Quality Initiatives), Kathleen Kerr (Research), and Bob Lane (Information Systems).

There is another critical asset, however, that propels SHM forward with new ideas and hard work. We have a highly motivated group of volunteer members who work on our board of directors, committees, and task forces. The broad range of that participation is also depicted in the diagram.

This SHM team of staff and volunteers addresses the needs of both individual hospitalists and the hospital medicine specialty as a group. The broad range of products and initiatives offered by SHM are represented as the last element of the diagram.

This framework proved to be an extremely useful tool for conducting our Senior Staff Planning Summit in August. I hope it is also useful to you, our members, in understanding the work we do on your behalf. If any of you have questions, please contact me by phone: (215) 351-2465.

Miller is the senior vice president of SHM.

Why SHM Exists click for large version

click for large version

A response to the needs:

Products and Initiatives

  • Annual Awards
  • Antimicrobial Resistance Resource Room
  • Career Center
  • Chapters
  • Coding and Documentation Precourse
  • Collaboration with IHI and Other Organizations
  • Core Competencies
  • Credentialing by ABIM
  • Dashboard White Paper
  • Discharge Planning Checklist
  • DVT Awareness Campaign
  • DVT Mentored Implementation
  • e-Newsletter
  • Geriatric Resource Room
  • Glycemic Control Resource Room
  • Heart Failure Resource Room
  • Journal of Hospital Medicine
  • Leadership Academies
  • Legislative Action Day
  • Letters to Congress
  • List Serves
  • Mentoring
  • Practice Management Precourse
  • Productivity and Compensation Survey
  • Public Policy White Paper
  • Quality Precourse
  • Research Grants
  • Resource Rooms
  • RIV Competition
  • SEPs Workshop
  • Stroke Resource Room
  • Survey Collaboration with AHA
  • The Hospitalist
  • Value Added White Paper
  • VTE Resource Room
  • Web site

A response to the needs:

Committees and Task Forces

  • Annual Meeting Committee
  • Awards Committee
  • Benchmarks Committee
  • Board of Directors
  • Career Satisfaction Task Force
  • Certification Task Force
  • Curriculum Task Force
  • Education Committee
  • Ethics Committee
  • Executive Committee of the Board of Directors
  • Executive Review Committee
  • Family Practice Task Force
  • Finance Committee of the Board of Directors
  • Hospital Quality and Patient Safety Committee
  • Heart Failure Award Task Force
  • Leadership Committee
  • Membership Committee
  • Nominations Committee
  • Non Physician Provider Committee
  • Palliative Care Task Force
  • Pediatric Committee
  • Pediatric Core Curriculum Task Force
  • Performance and Standards Task Force
  • Public Policy Committee
  • Research Committee
  • Resource Room Oversight Committee
  • Research, Innovation, and Clinical Vignettes Committee
  • Women in Hospital Medicine
  • Young Physicians Committee TH

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