On Aug. 1, a new hospitalist program started at Hammond-Henry Hospital.

On Aug. 1, a new hospitalist program started at Hammond-Henry Hospital.

Hospital officials said the new program “helps to assure coordinated, continuity of care for patients who require hospitalization.”

In the past, each physician was individually responsible for doing rounds at the hospital and checking on their admitted patients.

“The primary care physician was always the person who rounded on their patient every day they were in the hospital. You could have seven physicians making rounds, each seeing one or two patients,” explained Laura Domino, vice president of patient care services at the hospital.

Instead, she said hospitalists are becoming the trend to assure continuity of care and cover patient “rounds.” Since their “office hours” are within the hospital, they can readily check on patients, order and monitor tests and assure that patients’ needs are met.

The on-site hospitalist also helps coordinate all aspects of a patient’s stay to assure safety and specialized care by meeting with family members, answering questions and communicating with any medical staff involved in the care. After patients leave the hospital, the hospitalist also coordinates care with primary care physicians.

“Our own primary care physicians will take a week at a time and serve as the hospitalist,” said Domino. “During that time, they will be the ones doing rounds for the patients.”

Domino said utilizing a hospitalist program allows physicians to spend more time seeing patients in the office.

From 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., UnityPoint physicians, Hammond-Henry Regional Health Partners and an independent contracted physician will serve hospitalist services.

In the overnight hours, from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m., the emergency room physician will be the night hospitalist.

“Rounds are an important part of patient care because they can involve nurses and other medical staff to check on the patient, discuss how treatment is going and address any of the patient’s concerns,” Domino said. “At Hammond-Henry, there will be one physician dedicated to the ER while another will serve as the hospitalist during the day. In the evening, the ER physician will also serve as the hospitalist on duty.

“All will be the same friendly faces our patients have already come to know. Having this hospitalist program is one more way we can assure our patients have a positive experience,” she said.

“We realize there is still a need for more primary care providers within our community. The hospitalist program will help us to continue providing excellent care for our patients, even as we recruit and retain primary care providers who can serve more patients in our surrounding communities. Hammond-Henry appreciates all the providers who have contributed to this hospital and community for so many years,” said Domino.

Surgeons Dr. Calvin Atwell and Dr. Mark Stewart will continue to perform post-operation rounds on their patients, said Domino.

“The new program assures the ER is staffed during the day by at least one physician while another is available for rounds as needed,” said Dr. Kevin Jeffries, medical director for the Hammond-Henry ER and hospitalist program. “Using ER doctors is also convenient and efficient because many patients who have to be admitted start in the ER. This program also provides 24-hour accessibility by a doctor who is in the hospital and can promptly address patient concerns.”

The hospitalist program combines doctors with more than 113 years of combined experience. ER physicians/hospitalists include: Dr. Jeffries, along with Loren Soria, M.D.*; Rick Cernovich, M.D.*; Crystal Snider, M.D.; and Remigijus Satkauskas, M.D. Drew Van Kerrebroeck, M.D.* will serve only as a hospitalist.

Dedicated ER physicians are Timothy Voirin, D.O.*; Julios Ramos, M.D.*; and Julie Brown, M.D.* (Physicians noted with an asterisk are independent, non-employed contractors.)

Jeffries said that hospitalists also make it easier to recruit new physicians who may not choose to provide inpatient hospital care and free up more time for other providers to see patients in their offices.