Doctors now at hospital 24 hours a day

May 3, 2013

LUDINGTON — Memorial Medical Center (MMC) has added hospitalists—doctors who specialize in treating patients in the hospital—to its medical staff.

Hospitalists of Northern Michigan will work with the Ludington hospital to provide the service. As of May 1, there has been at least one hospitalist on duty 24 hours a day. They will provide direct care to adult primary care inpatients, handle any urgent issues that arise, and coordinate with the patient’s regular physician as needed.

“The use of hospitalists is a growing trend around the country,” said Mark Vipperman, MMC’s president and CEO, “and for good reason. There are significant benefits for inpatients because a physician is on the premises and available around the clock. The hospitalist program provides an excellent service to our primary care physicians in managing the overall care plan for their inpatients. The program will also reduce 24-hour on-call responsibilities for primary care physicians, affording them more flexibility in managing their office patients.”

According to The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), approximately 70% of U.S. hospitals are staffed by hospitalists, a trend that is growing in community and rural hospitals.

Specialists at MMC will continue to provide direct care and medical supervision for their patients who are admitted to the hospital.

According to Dr. Steven Strbich, chief of staff, the availability of hospitalists is a welcome option for primary care physicians and a benefit for patients. “The hospitalists will partner with the patient’s primary care physician, making certain that the patient’s doctor receives regular communication regarding the care being provided,” Strbich said. “This way, there is a seamless transition once the patient is discharged from the hospital, assuring continuity of care.” He stressed the fact that patients in the hospital’s emergency department will still be seen by emergency medicine physicians.

“I am pleased to offer our services to the western Michigan communities served by Memorial Medical Center,” said Dr. David Friar, Hospitalists of Northern Michigan’s CEO.  “Ludington and Scottville, and all of the surrounding areas, are fine communities, and we are pleased to be part of the comprehensive medical care provided here.”

The hospitalists’ role is really to oversee the full continuum of care of patients facing a stay in the hospital—from pre-hospital assessments, in-hospital treatment, and recommendations about post-discharge care, in conjunction with the primary care physician, Friar said.  “One of the key tasks the hospitalists will do is reconcile patients’ medication lists, both at admission and discharge, and communicate changes in condition, diagnosis or care to outpatient providers.”

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