Your own primary care physician may request that a hospitalist be in charge of your care during your hospital stay giving you the benefit of being seen by a doctor whose practice is entirely focused on the care of hospitalized patients. In addition, this can enable your primary care doctor to be more available to you in the office, rather than trying to maintain a schedule of seeing patients in the office and in the hospital.
How does the hospitalist practice work?
The hospitalist will be in charge of your care and will see you every day to direct your treatment while you are in the hospital. This doctor is available to you and your family to answer questions and discuss your care. The hospitalist works at the hospital full time to provide for your care and attend to any emergencies that may arise. He or she may consult other doctors to participate in your care as well.
The hospitalist will make arrangements for any prescriptions you may need when you are discharged. You may be asked to make an appointment with your primary care doctor or other doctors soon after discharge.
Since hospitalists do not have an outpatient practice, you will not have an appointment to see the hospitalist again after discharge. However, you may contact the hospitalist after discharge if you have any questions about your hospital stay.
What is the relationship between the hospitalist and my care physician?
The two doctors work together. Your primary care physician can provide information about your past health history to the hospitalist, and the two doctors can discuss any significant findings or events. At the time of your admission and discharge, the hospitalist prepares a detailed report of findings and treatment plans that is sent to your primary care physician. Your primary care physician asks the hospitalist to be in charge of your care while you are in the hospital, but is welcome to check on you and discuss your care with the hospitalist any time during your hospital stay. When you are discharged, you will return to the care of your primary care doctor.
What if I need another specialist while I'm in the hospital?
Consultations from other physicians are necessary in some cases and the hospitalist can arrange for these as necessary. If you have already been seeing other doctors at Virginia Mason Memorial or elsewhere, be sure to let the hospitalist know so that he or she can obtain all available medical information about you.