Hospital Rounds Out Its "Ist" List
Baptist Hospital has recently launched a hospital-based surgical initiative. The surgicalist program is the latest addition to the medical center's robust inpatient specialty hospital programs, which already include hospitalists, intensivists and obstetrics hospitalists.
Wendy Wright, physician practice director for Baptist Hospital, is responsible for developing and overseeing inpatient programs. She said a lot of background and thought has gone into each hospitalist expansion.
"Surgicalist is the most cutting edge of those groups," she noted of the latest addition. "We've been intentional about developing this, and the surgicalist program is the last key initiative."
Wright added the hospitalist options are viewed as an important segment in the continuum of care and as a benefit to both patients and referring physicians. She noted that where internal medicine hospitalists draw about 60-75 percent of their business from private referring physicians, the opposite is true for surgicalists.
"With surgicalists, the majority are emergency room and unassigned patients," she said. "There is, however, a component of their work that is referral from inpatient care." Wright added attending physicians are welcome to request consults from the surgeons staffing the program.
The Baptist Hospital surgicalist program is set up so that a general surgeon is on site and available during daytime hours to respond to need. The surgicalists are also on-call during the night and weekend hours. Baptist has hired Marc Rosen, DO, as the primary surgeon staffing the program. Rosen was recruited from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey School of Osteopathic Medicine where he served as program director of the general surgery residency training program and assistant professor of the department of surgery. He'll be on site for 10-hour shifts, four-to-five days a week with relief from eight other surgeons from various practices who formed an LLC — SIMS: Surgical Inpatient Management Services. George Lynch, MD, is the program's medical director.
Surgicalists follow a patient from the emergency room to the operating room to inpatient care through discharge home. Wright noted the surgicalist follows the same steps as any surgeon in obtaining a patient history, having a medical consult and conducting a full workup for non-urgent surgeries and acting quickly in emergency scenarios.
"It's actually a big boost to patient safety because the response time is so quick," she said. "The surgicalist is physically here." Wright said shortening response time was a driving force behind the decision to add the program.
She added, "Traditionally, the care of emergency surgical patients is time-intensive, associated with prolonged length of stay and requires surgeons to provide consultations at all hours. The goal of our program is to provide high quality, timely and efficient care to patients with urgent surgical conditions."
Wright said the concept is still pretty new and added that Baptist Hospital is one of the few in the country to have such a program. As with internal medicine hospitalists, the expectation is that surgicalists will hone their skills by focusing strictly on hospital care. "If all he's doing is acute, urgent surgical care, he is going to become an expert in that type of care and in the follow-up of that type of care," Wright said.
She concluded, "This program is not meant to supercede existing referral patterns or professional relationships. This is meant to augment those relationships. It's just another option, and it's a safe option for the patients and for the physicians."