Today’s medical care is complicated, and frequently involves multiple doctors, as well as staffs of nurses, technicians, and, of course, the insurance company wants to approve everything.
So Children’s Hospital of San Antonio has hired a staff of what are called ‘Hospitalists.’ These are medical doctors who act as expeditors, making sure all the physicians are clued in on the status of the patient’s care, making sure the insurance companies and Medicare are in the loop, and, probably the most important part, being available to answer questions from worried parents 24/7.
“Several people are involved in the care from the nurse to the consultant to yes, the financial people, including the insurance companies,” said Dr. Ricardo Quinonez, the head Hosptialist at CHoSA. He recently moved her from Houston, where he was on the faculty of Texas Children’s Hospital.
Quinonez says the Hospitalist tries to make the hospital experience, which is always stressful and complicated, a little easier. He says his staff of eleven are on duty around the clock, to make sure that as physicians, nurses, and technicians’ shifts change, there is somebody who can protect the continuity of care.
And he says he understands the frustration of parents and relatives, when they call a hospital to be told that the person they need to talk to won’t be in until 2PM, or that information can’t be given out due to privacy laws.
“We are there 24/7 for the families,” he said. “We also make sure that the physician who is on duty at the time knows the medical plan for the patient.”
He says the Hospitalist prevents problems like one doctor not knowing what tests, drugs, or treatments a patient has received from another doctor. The Hospitalist also make sure communication flows smoothly from the patient’s primary care physician to the hospital doctors, surgeons, and specialists.
“If there are multiple people involved in the care, this way the patient is getting just one message, and not just multiple and sometimes confusing messages.”
CHoSA is the first pediatric facility in San Antonio to have a Hospitalist on duty round the clock.