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Special Report |

The Value of a Hospitalist Service*: Efficient Care for the Aging Population?

Dani Hackner, MD; George Tu, MD; Glenn D. Braunstein, MD; Mark Ault, MD; Scott Weingarten, MD; Zab Mohsenifar, MD, FCCP
Author and Funding Information

*From the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, CA.

Correspondence to: Dani Hackner, MD, Division of Pulmonary & Critical Care Medicine, ROOM 6732, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, CA 90048; e-mail: hackner@zynx.com



Chest. 2001;119(2):580-589. doi:10.1378/chest.119.2.580
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Background: We studied patients of a hospitalist teaching service and patients receiving routine private care (control subjects). We sought to evaluate whether inpatients cared for by an academic hospitalist service had lower lengths of stay and resource utilization rates.

Methods: Using monthly hospital census data, 477 hospitalist cases and 1,160 control cases were selected by explicit criteria from the Medicaid population of a large, university-affiliated, community medical center between July 1, 1996, and June 30, 1997. Outcomes in hospitalist faculty patients were compared to those of control patients under the care of private providers.

Results: Median length of stay was 4 days for control subjects and 3 days for the hospitalist service (p < 0.0001). Median total cost per case was $4,853 for control subjects and $4,002 for hospitalist patients (p < 0.0001). Only patients ≥ 65 years old showed statistically significant reductions in both length of stay (p < 0.0001) and total cost (p = 0.002). Subspecialty consultation rates were 37.6% for control subjects and 16.6% for hospitalist cases (p < 0.0001). We noted increasing consultations for patients ≥ 65 years old, especially in the control group (p = 0.001). No significant differences in mortality, 30-day readmissions, or interfacility transfers were observed.

Conclusions: Patients cared for by an academic hospitalist service that includes actively participating medical residents appear to have lower lengths of stay, total costs, and consultation rates than patients receiving routine private care. The reductions are largely observed among patients ≥ 65 years old.

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