FirstHealth Hospitalist Services
Van Slaughter Jr., M.D., loves his job.
He likes the "acuteness" of the patient contact, of seeing patients who need -hospital-level attention, and prescribing care that makes a difference.
When his patients leave the hospital, Dr. Slaughter says, many have a big smile on their face because they feel so much -better than they did when they came in. That makes this full-time practitioner of hospitalist medicine very happy.
"Things can change very quickly in a hospital, so you are available for patient care for a patient's acute needs," he says. "You're available to be at the bedside longer."
A decade ago, almost any reference to the term "hospitalist" would probably have been met with a puzzled "what's that?" Now as many as 85 percent of the hospitals in the U.S. use these in-house, hospital-employed medical professionals.
The hospitals of FirstHealth of the Carolinas are among them.
Hospitalists are physicians, physician assistants and nurse practitioners who practice medicine inside a hospital. They don't have an outpatient practice or work in an outpatient clinic.
FirstHealth Moore Regional Hospital has 28 hospitalist physicians, all of them board certified in internal medicine, as well as another 10 mid-levels (physician assistants and nurse practitioners) who assist them.
You may be puzzled about why your -primary care provider - in all likelihood a doctor who has been caring for you for many years - isn't responsible for your hospital care as well. (Patients requiring specialty care are exceptions.)
There is a good reason for this -difference in providers, according to Michael A. Antil, M.D., a specialist in internal medicine with Pinehurst Medical Clinic and FirstHealth's largest partner in the hospitalist program.
"Hospitalists are an asset, because we primary care providers can't be in two places at one time," he says.
Until a few years ago, primary care providers saw their patients in their office and in the hospital, a practice that meant dividing precious time between the two locations. With the implementation of hospitalist care, primary care providers have been able to spend more time in their office, where they can concentrate on preventive as well as urgent care.
According to Dr. Antil, it comes down to a matter of efficiency. "It's about -providing the right care in the right place at the right time," he says. "The care is more efficient, resulting in better -outcomes in the end."
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