Patients across the country including the Humble area have been plagued with understanding the difference between Family Medicine Physicians and Hospitalists. Many patients assume when their care leads to hospitalization, the primary care physician would also provide inpatient services. In many cases this is true. However, it is solely dependent of your physicians training and permissions provided by your insurance company.
The American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) and the Society of Hospital Medicine (SHM) define Hospitalists as “physicians whose primary focus is in the general care of hospitalized patients”. However, they submit “the opportunity to participate in training as hospitalist is open to all physicians.” During their training, family physicians acquire the necessary skills and knowledge to allow them to provide comprehensive inpatient medical care. This also includes, participation in the care of patients in intensive care units, training with general surgeons and the recognition and understanding of surgical disease. In addition, Family Physicians acquire skills that are essential to the practice of hospital medicine, including participation in quality improvement, addressing the psychosocial needs of patients, coordinating across levels of care, and functioning as the lead with members of interdisciplinary team.
In some cases your family physician is trained. However, your insurance company may designate a local hospitalist in the facility where you are admitted. Based on AAFP study of family medicine physicians only 4.9% noted that insurance companies preferred a local hospitalist to provide inpatient services. While this is a small number, the percentage is trending upward. With the growing number of hospitalists, insurance companies are considering these physicians of for inpatient care more often.
Over the past ten years as noted by the Association of American Medical Colleges, hospitalists have increased well over 6 percent.
While this may not affect you with your Family Medicine Physician it is important to note, that Family Medicine Physicians may often be Hospitalists yet there is a growing number of new hospitalists awaiting assignment.
Always ask your Family Medicine Physician if her or she is a hospitalist and if they provide inpatient services to you and your family members. It is a good thing to know.
Wellspire Medical Group
8901 Farm to Market 1960 Bypass Road W #101
Humble, TX 77338