Cooley Dickinson Hospital Announces New Inpatient Physician Program

NORTHAMPTON — The Cooley Dickinson Physician Hospital Organi-zation (CDPHO), in partnership with Cooley Dickinson Hospital, recently announced the start of a new program called the Cooley Dickinson Inpatient Physicians.
The new program features on-site physicians, known as hospitalists, who take care of some hospitalized patients. More than 20 primary care physician (PCP) members of the CDH medical staff are participating in the inpatient physician program. Their participation means that when one of their patients is admitted for an acute illness, the patient will be cared for by the CDH inpatient physicians.

Lead hospitalist George Corey, M.D., board-certified in Family Practice, says the hospitalist acts as the patient’s primary care physician while the patient is in the hospital. The hospitalist provides care in the hospital by assessing the hospitalized patient’s condition; developing a care plan; ordering lab work, diagnostic tests and medications; consulting with specialists, nutritionists, and rehabilitation therapists; and arranging for discharge and aftercare.

The hospitalist promptly notifies the patient’s PCP when the patient is admitted to the hospital and when the patient is discharged, and the PCP and hospitalist communicate if the patient’s condition should change.

When the patient is discharged, the hospitalist provides prescriptions and arranges follow-up care such as physical or occupational therapy, home care, or referrals for other types of care.
“And after a patient is discharged,” Dr. Corey added, “the PCP will receive a detailed discharge summary that describes the patient’s hospital stay.” The patient then resumes medical care under their PCP.

Cooley Dickinson joins a growing number of organizations now employing hospitalists. According to healthnewsdi-gest.com, the hospitalist movement caught on in the mid- to late ‘90s. In the last three years alone, the number of hospitalists has doubled to more than 7,000 nationwide. And that number is expected to triple again by 2010, growing to almost 20,000 practitioners.

Locally, Andrew Mackey, M.D., primary care physician and medical director of the CDPHO, says the hospitalist movement is a well-known concept. “Almost all of the hospitals in the upper and lower Pioneer Valley have hospitalist programs or are in the process of starting this type of program.”

Mackey expects more Cooley Dickinson-affiliated PCPs to sign on to the inpatient physician program after they see the benefits. “Using the inpatient physician program can allow primary care physicians more time to see patients in their offices.”

The inpatient physician program is funded by fees paid in part by patients’ health insurance. The CDPHO developed and manages the program. CDH will provide a small stipend to support the program during the start-up period.

CDPHO negotiates contracts with health plans and coordinates care between area physicians, CDH, and other providers.

In addition to the lead hospitalist, Corey, the inpatient physician program includes Laura Scoville, M.D., board-certified in Internal Medicine; and part-time hospitalist William Swiggard, M.D., Ph.D., board-certified in Internal Medicine and Infectious Diseases.

Swiggard is primarily an infectious disease specialist who is working part-time as a hospitalist while he works locally to build his infectious diseases practice.

BMC Names New Clinical Pharmacist

PITTSFIELD — Berkshire Medical Center announced the appointment of Erin Rachmiel, Pharm.D., a board-certified Pharmacotherapy specialist, as clinical pharmacist in the BMC Pharmacy Department.

Rachmiel is establishing a clinical pharmacy practice in the BMC Respiratory Care Unit, where she will evaluate, adjust, and monitor pharmacotherapy to promote effective, safe, and economical patient care. In this capacity, she will evaluate scientific literature to provide drug information to health care professionals at BMC.

Rachmiel was most recently a clinical pharmacist in Internal Medicine at Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis, where she monitored and evaluated drug therapy for patients, offered recommendations to the hospital medical staff, and provided discharge counseling. She has served as an adjunct instructor at the St. Louis College of Pharmacy, Division of Pharmacy Practice, and also as a guest instructor at Jewish Hospital College of Nursing and Allied Health, and taught in a resident teaching seminar series at St. Louis College of Pharmacy.

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