SHM CEO to highlight need to prepare for change


If there’s one thing hospital medicine is not, it’s static. And that’s truer today than it’s ever been in the more than 20 years since the field came into existence: As the role of hospitalists continue to expand, it’s now in the setting of a rapidly changing health care scene.

So when Society of Hospital Medicine CEO Larry Wellikson, MD, MHM, takes the annual conference podium this morning for his talk on “Future Challenges for Hospital Medicine,” he’ll have a lot to cover.

His overall message, though, will boil down to this: Learn the skills you’ll need.

With hospitalists managing acute and palliative care and being involved in surgical comanagement, many may need additional training.

“There’s a blurring of our role as we link to the emergency department or critical care units, or even a blurring of where does inpatient care end and outpatient care begin?” he said. “Many of these roles hospitalists haven’t been completely trained for.” He’ll also remind the audience that one of SHM’s main roles is to help provide that training.

He said the urgency of learning new skills is only intensified by the health care field’s transition from volume-based payment to value-based payment and by consolidation of previously separate pieces of the landscape, such as the acquisition of Aetna by CVS, with its nearly 10,000 pharmacy locations and more than 1,000 MinuteClinics.

“The real cost for them is hospitalization,” Dr. Wellikson said. “Any money they spend on hospitalization is money they don’t have left over. That puts pressure on hospitalists.”


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