Hospitalist Group Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

If you are unsure about the role of a hospitalist, we can help you learn more information about this important role. Here are the answers to the frequently asked questions we hear the most often.

What does a hospitalist do?
All of the hospitalist’s time is spent caring for hospitalized patients. Hospitalists function as your primary care doctor during your stay at the hospital. They work with other specialists to monitor, guide, and coordinate all major aspects of your treatment. The hospitalist also makes sure that your primary care provider is informed of your condition and involved in the plan of care. A member of the Hospitalist team will visit you daily, assist with your medical care, discuss medical issues with you and your consulting specialists, and arrange for follow-up with your primary care provider once you are discharged. Hospitalists frequently provide consultative care in Internal Medicine for other physicians and surgeons. They work with nurses and other care providers in the hospital to try to efficiently and safely improve the patient care process from admission to discharge.

How do I contact the hospitalist physicians?
If you or a family member would like to speak with one of our hospitalists, it is best to ask the nurse caring for you to page the doctor. We also have a 24 hour answering service, 212-241-1653.

Why is a Hospitalist caring for me?
Your primary care physician may have requested that a hospitalist be in charge of your care during your stay at the hospital, or you may have had one of our hospitalists assigned to care for you. In this way, you benefit from being seen by a doctor whose practice is entirely focused on the care of hospitalized patients—a doctor who is in regular contact with your primary care physician and can care for you and answer your questions around the clock.

Why isn't my regular physician seeing me in the hospital?
Hospitalists often admit patients for other doctors who prefer to concentrate their efforts and expertise in office settings and want you to be evaluated by an expert in the care of hospitalized patients, who will also be able to see you multiple times each day, if necessary. While you are in the hospital, your primary care doctor has asked our on-site hospitalists to care for you and your medical needs. Once you are discharged, your primary care physician will resume responsibility for your medical care.

Will my physician and the hospitalist work together?
Communication is essential to the successful relationship between your primary care physician and the hospitalist. While you are in the hospital, our hospitalist will consult with your provider and maintain regular communication with him or her during your stay. In turn, your primary care provider can provide the hospitalist with valuable information regarding your medical history, medications and special needs.

How should my family and I communicate with the hospitalist?
We recognize the importance of providing you with as much information as possible about the care you will be receiving. During your stay, one of our hospitalist physicians will be responsible for directing and coordinating your medical care and will be available to answer questions or concerns that you or your family may have regarding your condition and treatment plans. During any of the hospitalist’s visits, feel free to ask questions or seek clarification about anything you may not understand.

What happens when I am discharged from the hospital?
You will receive written and verbal instructions about your home treatment plan. These instructions will either include an appointment or instruct you to make an appointment with your primary physician after discharge. A hospitalist will also contact your primary care provider or make arrangements for follow-up care. Once you leave the hospital, it is important that you follow through with your discharge instructions, including making the necessary office appointments with your physician. Note that hospitalists do not see patients outside of the hospital setting. Should you have questions or need assistance after you have been discharged, please contact your primary care provider.

Who will write prescriptions for medications prescribed in the hospital?
The hospitalist will make arrangements for any prescriptions you may need when you are discharged.

Will my primary care physician be informed about my discharge plan?
Your primary care doctor will receive important information about your hospital diagnosis and treatment in the form of a written discharge summary. This report will be sent to your physician soon after you are released from the hospital. In addition, hospitalist physicians and your primary care physician may discuss your case confidentially over the phone or via a secured e-mail system to facilitate your transition from the hospital back to the care of your primary care provider.