Hospitalist Specialty Overview/Introduction-
In the United States, there are approximately twenty eight thousand Hospitalists practicing today. Approximately 50% of hospitals across the nation have a branch of this specialized unit. Because of growing demand many medical education facilities are developing Hospitalist-based residencies.
Hospitalists have just developed in the last ten or fifteen years. The term Hospitalist refers to not only Medical Doctors and Doctors of Osteopathy, but also Nurses, Clinicians, Aids, and specialists who primarily work in a hospital setting where there is a high volume of patients and requires a much broader knowledge and expertise of medicine. This group tends to serve as unofficial case supervisors, helping direct specialists and other health professionals.
The failing economy has hurt demand for Hospitalists however, but it hasn't helped them either. In other specialties such as Psychiatry and Family / General Practice, the cost for these services are on the rise . And with the Emergency and Urgent Care caseloads bursting at the seams, the forecast seems at least steady. There is speculation, however, that the salaries of Hospitalists will plateau from their current rise, and possibly even fall. This also is because the rapid growth of and reliance on Hospitalists is relatively unpredictable and to early to predict anything longterm, as is the physician job market as a whole. However, most sources do agree, Hospitalists won't be suffering anytime soon.
The stock markets decline has affected some physicians' retirement plans. Some are calling off their impending retirement and opting to work for a few more years because of the hits their retirement plans and investment portfolios have taken. By postponing leaving the workplace, you might think this might flood the job market. It isn't so. Even a delay of three to five years wouldn't fix the impending deficit of veteran physicians.
Health Insurance Reform-
The lurking health care / insurance reform, although is very vague as of yet, has the potential to rock the Hospitalist world. There are a few prerequisites for this proposed reform. You wouldn't normally think of a Hospitalist as a primary care physician, but the government might classify them as such. They might especially do so if a Hospitalist does fifty percent or more in primary care charges, or what is "defined" as primary care charges. This would subject Hospitalists to the five to ten percent medicare reimbursements, or lack thereof, depending on how the bill sets up shortage zones (higher Medicare reimbursement rates). This gray area could cause Medicare quite a few problems and upset an entire branch of medicine, especially a branch so vital, beneficial, and thriving as Hospitalist.