In Tennessee, where hospitalists were almost unheard of a decade ago, hospitalists now work in every shape and size of hospital, some with fewer than 100 beds. At one hospital that employs its own hospitalist, there are just 58 beds and an attached nursing home, Becker says.
Showing that hospitalists have been worth the cost is really as simple as looking at the length of stay, he says. “If you can knock six-tenths of a day off a stay, that’s pretty significant savings,” Becker says.
Becker notes other positives the HM model has brought to Tennessee hospitals: They make the jobs of hospital administrators easier because specialists and referring physicians are happier.
“They can spend more time doing whatever they want to do on a personal basis or in their offices,” he says. “So I think just in terms of improving relationships with the medical staffs, hospitalists have been a real plus.”
Tom Collins is a freelance writer based in Florida.