August 19th, 2010

Great River Medical Center will begin southeast Iowa's first hospitalist program Wednesday, Sept. 1. A hospitalist is a physician who cares only for patients who have been admitted to the hospital.

"The use of hospitalists began about 10 years ago, and the number of hospitals using them is growing rapidly," said Mark Richardson, president and CEO, Great River Medical Center. "About 70 percent of hospitals in the United States of comparable size to Great River Medical Center have hospitalist programs."

By practicing only inpatient medicine, hospitalists excel at managing acute diseases. Their only responsibility is the management of care for inpatients. Hospitalists also may enhance the efficiency of care by helping speed the admission process from the Emergency Department to an acute-care unit.

Sam Qazi, M.D., is Great River Medical Center's first hospitalist. He is a family physician who is certified in geriatric medicine by the American Board of Family Medicine. He earned his medical degree at Khyber Medical College in Pakistan. He completed his residency at Montgomery Family Medicine in Norristown, Pa., and a fellowship at Sacred Heart Hospital, Allentown, Pa.

The hospitalist program eventually will employ four or five full-time physicians who will provide 24-hour inpatient care.

Physicians at Great River Medical Center will choose whether they want a hospitalist to oversee the care of their patients who are admitted to the hospital. Hospitalists communicate with patients' personal physicians throughout their stays.

"The use of hospitalists can help ease the work load of physicians, many of whom may spend 12 to 14 hours a day caring for patients in their offices and the hospital," Richardson said. "With hospitals nationwide facing a shortage of physicians, a hospitalist program will help retain the quality physicians we have on the medical staff and will be a tremendous asset in attracting new physicians to the community."