Making our patients feel better
We want to help make you as comfortable as possible during your stay. We recognize that one of the best ways to accomplish this is by helping you understand who will care for you while you're at Baptist Health Louisville.
In addition to the hospital staff and nurses who provide care during your stay, Baptist Health Louisville works with a new type of specialty physician known as a hospitalist. These physicians are internal medicine specialists who work only within the hospital and do not have a private practice.
The following frequently asked questions provide more information on the hospitalists’ role and how they work with patients, and their primary care physicians, to oversee their care.
Q: What is a hospitalist?
A: The hospitalists at Baptist Health Louisville are internal medicine physicians* who specialize in seeing patients in a hospital setting. Because hospital patients are their primary focus, they are well versed in the special needs of hospitalized patients.
In addition, because these doctors work within the hospital, they are more readily available to recheck patient conditions, test results and request specialist consultations should your condition change. If you are currently being cared for by a specialist physician (such as a cardiologist or surgeon) please inform the hospitalist physician caring for you.
Q: Why am I being seen by a hospitalist?
A: Patients admitted to the hospital who do not have a primary care physician are seen by the hospitalists to ensure there is a physician to oversee their care. In other cases, the hospitalists work in partnership with patients’ primary care physicians to ensure that their patients are seen while in the hospital.
The hospitalists work hand-in-hand with your primary care physician. This allows your primary care doctor to spend more time with patients in the office, rather than spending time on hospital rounds. Once patients leave the hospital, they return to the care of their primary care physician or other appropriate specialist.
Q: Will my own doctor know I have been admitted to the hospital?
A: Your admission process will be handled by your doctor, emergency-room physician or the hospitalist physician. Once you have been admitted, your doctor will be notified for follow-up. Also, your doctor will receive all information about your care while you are in the hospital.
Q: How does my primary care physician follow up on my hospital stay?
A: Patients who have a primary care physician will return to his or her care after their hospital stay. It’s important, however, to tell your nurse and the hospitalists the name of your primary care physician, as well as any specialist physicians you see, to ensure proper follow-up. If your physician schedules a follow-up office visit after your hospital stay, we recommend calling the office before your visit to make sure your hospital records have been received and reviewed by your physician.
Patients who do not have a primary care physician will not be seen by the hospitalists after leaving the hospital. Please ask the hospitalist for a list of primary care physicians who are accepting new patients. If needed, you may schedule a follow-up visit with one of these physicians.
Q: How can I best work with the hospitalists to help speed my recovery?
A: The most important step in working well with any physician is thorough communication. Please tell the hospitalists any concerns or relevant background about your condition. The hospitalist will also be in touch with your primary care physician, as needed. Again, the advantage of the hospitalists is that they are at Baptist Health Louisville round-the-clock, and available to see you if your condition changes. In addition, feel free to talk to your nurse if you’d like to schedule a family conference to discuss your condition with the hospitalist.
Q: When will the hospitalist see me?
A: The hospitalist physician begins patient visits early each morning, including weekends. These visits continue throughout the day. Patients with the most urgent medical needs will be seen first. If you or a family member needs to speak with the hospitalist prior to his/her arrival, please ask the nursing staff to call.
Q: Will I see the same hospitalist throughout my stay?
A: The group of hospitalists caring for you makes every effort to provide consistent care throughout your stay. In many cases, that will mean you’ll be seen by the same physician. However, depending on when you are admitted and the length of your stay, you may be seen by more than one physician in the hospitalist group. Regardless, the hospitalists work as a team, in addition to coordinating with your nurses, to provide consistent, efficient care – no matter who is overseeing your stay.
Q: What if I need to see another specialist while I’m in the hospital?
A: Consultations with other specialist physicians are often necessary. The hospitalist physician coordinates your treatment and will help you obtain appropriate specialty care. Depending on your medical conditions, the hospitalist physician may transfer your care to a specialist, such as a surgeon or cardiologist. If you have been seen previously by a specialist, it is important that you provide the hospitalist with the name of the specialist physician who has been providing your care. Later, as your condition improves, the specialist may return responsibility for your care to the hospitalist physician until you leave the hospital.
Q: How does the hospitalist bill for services?
A: As with any physician services provided within the hospital (such as anesthesia or radiology), physician billing is handled separately from the hospital’s services. If a hospitalist cares for you, you will receive a bill from the hospitalist group, in addition to your hospital bill. Any questions about the invoice should be directed to the phone number provided on the invoice, not the hospital.
*Physicians are independent contractors and are not employees or agents of Baptist Health Louisville.