The hospitalist movement has turned the corner from an emerging field to an established specialty some 30,000 strong that will be a change agent for healthcare reform, SHM officials declared today at HM09 in Chicago.
"Hospital medicine is the elephant that stood up," says Larry Wellikson, MD, FHM, CEO of SHM. "We are no longer the new people, the little engine that could. We are a huge force moving through medicine and healthcare—we like to think to good purpose."
Dr. Wellikson's comments punctuated the annual State of HM address, which drew a record crowd of 2,000 at this year's sold-out conference. His comments were bookended by former SHM president Patrick Cawley, MD, FHM, and SHM President Scott Flanders, MD, FHM. All three touted the society's collaborations with other healthcare groups, quality initiatives, and the seemingly endless growth spurt in the field.
The addresses followed the induction of the inaugural class of Fellows in Hospital Medicine. More than 400 of the 514 fellows were in attendance. HM leaders point to the fellowship program as another milestone in cementing HM's place in healthcare. Other plaudits were bestowed upon the society's training programs for patient discharge, the attention paid to the needs of academic hospitalists, and the Public Policy Committee’s work in connecting with congressional leaders who are likely to help President Obama shepherd through major healthcare reforms this summer.
"For a specialty that is so new, we have an absolutely special seat at the table," Dr. Wellikson says. "We are now ready for prime time, ready to lead, and ready to go."