Hospitalist Services

Vail Valley Medical Center's hospitalists coordinate and ensure continuity of care for patients from admission to discharge, 24 hours/day, seven days/week. Adult hospitalists are medical doctors, usually internists, who specialize in inpatient care. Pediatric hospitalists' are also Board Certified medical doctors whose primary focus is the care of hospitalized children. By focusing their practice on the care of hospitalized patients, hospitalists gain a great deal of experience in the unique aspects of patients' needs during their hospital stay. Hospitalists typically spend most or all of their work day in the hospital, and thus can be readily available to their patients. They do not take appointments.

The hospitalist program provides:

  • Communication between the hospitalist and the patient's referring physician and primary care physician
  • A familiar and consistent approach to inpatient care
  • A consultative resource for physicians - all patients are returned to their referring physician for ongoing care
  • On-call care, 24 hours/day, 7 days/week, including:
    • care of newborns in the Women’s and Children’s Center
    • consults in the Emergency Department and hospital
    • admission of pediatric/teen patients to the Patient Care Unit and Intensive Care Unit
    • phone consultation for physicians practicing in the community
  • High quality, patient-centered care, in the tradition of Vail Valley Medical Center

The Hospitalist program is a service of Vail Valley Medical Center. 

Hospitalist FAQS

How do patients perceive hospitalists?

For a number of reasons, patients remark very positively on VVMC's hospitalist service. Because these physicians practice in the hospital, they are present whenever the patient or family member has a question regarding care. Patients don't need to wait until their primary care physicians make rounds to get answers. In addition, by being located in the hospital, hospitalists know how to expedite and improve care within that environment. They are familiar with all of the key individuals in the hospital, including medical and surgery consultants and discharge planners. Finally, hospitalists can facilitate connections with post-acute providers, such as home health care, skilled nursing care and specialized rehabilitation.

Does using a hospitalist save money?

Yes. Studies show that inpatient specialists can reduce hospital lengths of stay by more than 30 percent and hospital costs by up to 20 percent. This is one of the reasons why hospitals and insurers as well as economic and quality forces are propelling the shift to hospitalists as a way to improve the efficiency of care for hospitalized patients.

What value do hospitalists provide to the physician community?

Today, the average primary care physician has one or two hospitalized patients per week, versus 10 to 12 patients 20 years ago. Working with a hospitalist provides primary care physicians the ability to focus their attention on their office practices and better refine these needed outpatient skills, while at the same time knowing their in-hospital patients are receiving the best care possible from specialists trained in that field.

This is particularly important because hospital patients today are more complex and more acutely ill than in the past. Because of this, hospital medicine requires a decidedly different skill set than outpatient medicine - a skill set that hospitalists are particularly experienced with and competent to handle.

How do hospitalists contribute to patient care from a clinical standpoint?

Practice generally makes perfect in health care. The average U.S. primary care physician spends only 12 percent of his or her time with hospitalized patients, which means that the typical primary care physician is unlikely to see any one condition requiring hospitalization more than three times per year (according to a study by The Advisory Board in Washington, D.C.). Hospitalists provide an expertise in the application and coordination of care for common acute disorders. Because of this deep understanding of inpatient care, hospitalists are able to recognize and diagnose unusual disorders, anticipate problems and rapidly respond to crises or changes in a patient's condition.