Elk Regional Health Center is one of a growing number of hospitals across the country using Hospitalists to manage the care of patients who are admitted to the hospital.
“One of the most dramatic changes to health care in the last 15 years has been the emergence of the Hospitalist specialty,” said Karen Meholic, the Director of Elk Regional Professional Group. “Health care in America is making a shift. Care is beginning to be focused upon a certain location, such as a hospital, in conjunction with care provided in an out-patient office setting. Our Hospitalist team is an extension of the continuum of care.”
Elk Regional’s Hospitalist team is a trio of full-time physicians, including Christopher Colosimo, DO; Larry Maturani, MD; and Scott McKimm, DO.
Hospitalists are physicians who manage a patient’s care while that patient is in the hospital. Prior to discharge, the Hospitalist informs the patient’s primary care physician on all medical management changes, including any new prescriptions and adjustments to existing prescriptions.
The process is similar to the one used by the majority of primary care physicians who refer their patients to a specialist. When a patient is admitted to the hospital, the Hospitalist has access to the patient’s medical records so they can make informed decisions about the patient’s care.
Once a patient is discharged, they return to their primary care physician for follow-up care. Hospitalists can also order post-discharge home health care, such as that provided by Community Nurses Inc., an affiliate of the Elk Regional Health System.
There are a number of benefits to using a hospitalist.
“Hospitalists are valuable for patients and physicians, in part because they help coordinate a patient’s care,” Mrs. Meholic said. “They help patients navigate an often daunting network of nurses, surgeons and specialists. They help keep physicians and specialists up-to-date about the care a patient is receiving. That level of coordination means communication happens smoothly – and that can translate to a reduction in a patient’s length of stay and expense.”
Because their primary site of practice is the hospital, Hospitalists are typically able to spend more time with their patients than a primary care physician who must travel back and forth between the hospital and his or her office. Hospitalists can also see patients more than once per day, if necessary. And because Hospitalists are on-site, they are intimately familiar with the hospital environment.
“I find working as a Hospitalist rewarding because I like the medical complexity of working in a hospital setting,” Dr. Maturani said. “I enjoy helping people manage their medical problems and I enjoy hands-on medicine. Being a Hospitalist allows me to do these things in a way that other specialties may not.”
The use of Hospitalists also has benefits for primary care physicians who are caring for increasing numbers of patients in an outpatient setting. By transferring inpatient care to the Hospitalist and eliminating the need to make rounds at the hospital every day, the primary care physician can see more patients each day on an outpatient basis.
“Our hospitalist program offers us – and, more importantly, our patients – flexibility we have not previously had,” Mrs. Meholic said. “We hope knowing that there is a doctor in-house to answer questions offers our patients and their loved ones some peace of mind. We are proud to be able to enhance our hospitalist program for the benefit of our patients.”
About Elk Regional’s Hospitalists
Dr. Colosimo earned his medical degree from the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, in Philadelphia, PA. He completed his internship and residency at St. Luke’s Hospital in Allentown, PA. He is Board Certified by the American Osteopathic Board of Family Physicians.
Dr. Maturani earned his medical degree from the St. George’s University School of Medicine in Grenada, the West Indies. He conducted an internship and residency training in Internal Medicine at hospitals in Wilkes-Barre, PA and Scranton, PA, including Mercy Health System, Community Medical Center, and the Veteran’s Affairs Hospital. He is Board certified in Internal Medicine and is certified in basic life support, advanced cardiac life support, and advanced trauma life support.
Dr. McKimm earned his medical degree from the Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine in Downers Grove, Illinois. He performed his internship and residency at Conemaugh Memorial Medical Center in Johnstown, PA. He is Board Certified by the American Board of Family Medicine.