Frequently Asked Questions

What is a hospitalist?

A hospitalist is a doctor who primarily takes care of patients when they are in the hospital. Just like your primary care doctor, hospitalists are trained in general internal medicine and other specialties. However, because Hospitalists do not maintain outside clinics, they can focus all their attention on patients inside the hospital.

What does the hospitalist program mean for patients?

Our hospitalists keep a close eye on you. In case of an emergency, BSA hospitalists are never very far. That's because they work in the medical center and will see you more than once a day, if needed. Your BSA hospitalist knows the specialists and departments at BSA and will assist you through a smooth and speedy recovery process by following up on tests and adjusting your treatment regimen throughout the day based on those test results. The hospitalist is able to review test results quickly and begin treatments in a timely manner, thereby moving the patient closer to discharge. BSA hospitalists answer your family's questions. At BSA, our hospitalists are here to provide face-to-face answers whenever possible. During those critical and stressful moments, they provide honest and considerate answers to your questions.

How does the hospitalist know about me?

BSA hospitalists communicate with primary care physicians and will make every effort to obtain pertinent records from them. At the time of your admission to BSA, your primary care physician calls the hospitalist and informs him or her of your condition, similar to what a primary care physician does when he or she refers you to a specialist for another opinion or for additional tests and treatment.

The hospitalist will communicate with your primary care physician and any physician specialists that participate in your treatment. At discharge, the BSA hospitalist will ensure that the primary physician and physician specialists are involved in the post hospital plan of care and that they receive the medical records needed for your follow-up. BSA hospitalists will work with hospital case management to make sure that you receive the prescriptions, resources and information you need after discharge.

Will my primary care doctor know I am in the hospital?

Your primary care doctor will be notified that you have been admitted to the hospital and will be contacted at discharge by the hospitalist. When you are admitted to the hospital, your doctor communicates with the hospitalist about your condition and transfers the management of your care. The hospitalist also communicates with your doctor at discharge. This ensures a smooth transition of the management of your care back to your doctor.

Do the hospitalists have access to my medical records kept by my primary care physicians?

In some practices with electronic records, the hospitalist can access your medical record, if needed, while you are hospitalized in accordance with confidentiality laws. If not, the hospitalist can communicate directly with your primary care physician.

How will my primary care doctor know what happened during my hospital stay?

Your primary care doctor will be provided with written documentation of your medical care during your hospitalization and will have had conversations with the hospitalist.

When will I see my primary care physician?

Many primary care physicians refer their patients to hospitalists when their patients are admitted to the hospital. After you go home from the hospital, you will see your family doctor for follow-up.

What happens when I am discharged?

Your physician will be provided with a complete discharge summary upon dismissal. After you have been discharged, make sure to call your physician for a follow-up appointment. Take with you any new or changed medications and any other new orders for diet, therapy or follow-up care.

What about home health care?

If you need home health care, such as a visiting nurse or therapist, be sure the hospitalist orders the care and that your physician is notified so he or she can attend to oversight of this care. The Hospitalist won't continue to give orders beyond the initial order.

Who will I see after I am discharged from the hospital?

Before you are discharged, the hospitalist will give you a follow-up plan for when you leave the hospital and return to the care of your primary care physician. That follow-up plan will include what medications you will be using after your discharge; what to do if something happens; and the date of your next appointment with your primary care doctor.

Are all the primary care doctors using the hospitalist program?

Use of the hospitalist program is a voluntary service, but many of the area's primary care doctors are making full utilization of the Hospitalist program. Check with your doctor to see what they are doing.

Who do the hospitalists rely upon to help them made the best decisions for hospitalized patients?

They frequently consult local specialists. They may also contact your primary care physician to request additional input.