Hospitalists Replacing Family Physicians in Inpatient Care
MedSun: Newsletter #10, December 2006

“Hospitalists,” physicians who specialize in caring for patients while they are in the hospital, are increasingly taking the place of private-practice physicians in providing care to hospitalized individuals. Anne Geggis, writing in the Daytona Beach (Florida) News-Journal (October 23, 2006), reports that some family practice physicians no longer perform hospital rounds, and that some hospitals in the United States have stopped allowing offsite primary care physicians to see patients in those hospitals. Increased costs and decreasing insurance reimbursements are given as explanations for the trend. The News-Journal piece cites Managed Healthcare Executive, an industry publication, in predicting a total of 30,000 hospitalists nationwide by 2010. The 2005 total of about 15,000 hospitalists represented an increase of more than 18 times the number in practice in the mid-1990s. Although the trend “lends greater efficiency to the entire medical system, whether or not this change improves patient care is still an unanswered question,” concludes Ms. Geggis.

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