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My Father and Hospitalists

Obamacare can be deadly. It was for my father.

by
Janine Turner

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June 13, 2014 - 12:05 am
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Have you or a loved one been admitted to the hospital lately? If so, did you notice that your own personal physician didn’t come to visit you? Did you notice that you were assigned a “hospitalist”? Welcome to the new world of Obamacare. In order to cut healthcare spending, hospitals and large physician groups are combining to drastically expand the Accountable Care Organizations. To maximize profits, hospitals are employing more physicians as hospitalists and subsequently squeezing out your personal doctor.

Though the term was coined in 1996 by Dr. Robert Wachter, chief of the Division of Hospital Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, the use of this type of impersonal physician care is rapidly increasing due to the new wave of Obamacare. Physicians are flocking to this line of work that lacks the need for compassion and commitment, leaving a huge void in personal physicians. A sign of things to come: in Massachusetts, a patient has to wait 48 days to get an appointment with his own personal internist.

What is a hospitalist? The UC San Diego Department of Medicine states that the Society of Hospital Medicine has adopted the following official definition of “hospitalist”:

Hospitalists are physicians whose primary professional focus is the general medical care of hospitalized patients. Their activities include patient care, teaching, research, and leadership related to Hospital Medicine.

This sounds rather benign, like they are simply educated candy stripers. However, they are actually replicant versions of your kind, caring personal physicians, and their inaccessibility, unaccountability and basic lack of commitment to the patient can have deadly consequences. Most people in America have their own trusted physicians, who know their medical history intimately. In the past, when a patient entered the hospital his own personal doctors were notified and consulted, and this was followed by subsequent visits.

The new method of operation, designed to control hospital costs, is to assign a patient a “hospitalist” — a physician who knows nothing about the patient’s medical history and is relying on a sick patient, or a frazzled family member, to fill in pertinent gaps in knowledge. The patient is being denied his personal doctor who will not only properly care for him but care about him. The patient is left with an unattached, surreptitious hospitalist who is a “shift worker.” Once the hospitalist leaves the hospital, he washes his hands of the patient, leaving the patient to the next hospitalist on duty. Trying to connect with these revolving-door hospitalists is a nightmare and it leaves a critical void in not only the patient’s care, but in the family’s ability to know when, why and how the patient is being treated and how the patient is faring.

These hospitalists make decisions — prescribing new medicines or altering existing medicines — based on a sketchy history of the patients without consulting their primary physicians. They often do this in a precarious and arrogant manner — the “hospitalist God complex,” or perhaps it is the Obamacare-laden hospital pulling the “God” strings.

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Top Rated Comments   
I'm very sorry Janine.

I'm coming to loath progressives. They actually make my skin crawl. We have a fight ahead of us.
15 weeks ago
15 weeks ago Link To Comment
The use of hospitalists predates the passage of ObamaCare. If your father got poor care, that is the fault of the doctor and/or hospital. Placing the blame on ObamaCare seems a bit lame. You are conflating two bad things, which do not appear causally related. Even if ObamaCare were repealed tomorrow (which would be great), hospitalists will continue to be utilized.
15 weeks ago
15 weeks ago Link To Comment
Let me get this straight:

"There are doctor's that work in hospitals. Those doctors are not the same as the doctors that do not work in hospitals. When my Dad was in the hospital he was treated by doctors that work in the hospital. Those doctors were not the same as the ones who do not work in hospitals that he had seen before. My Dad died in a hospital. Therefore Obamacare is a failure."

One could say WTF, but really, what difference would it make? Thank you Jenius Turner for this... thing... you wrote.
15 weeks ago
15 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (34)
All Comments   (34)
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My 87-year-old grandmother died in a hospital at the hands of a hospitalist. She had been taking what she called her "nerve pills" for at least sixty years. They were commonly prescribed back in the 1930s and she was prescribed them her entire life. Thus, it never occurred to the hospital, or us, that she was technically an addict, and seeing no reason for the prescription they cut off her supply suddenly. She died of agonizing withdrawal and not the pneumonia.
15 weeks ago
15 weeks ago Link To Comment
Well, this certainly explains why my mother had a different diagnosis and treatment plan each time the doctor "in charge" came in to see her during her final illness in January of this year! One, who I argued with at length, insisted that she had leukemia; another told me she was doing great & would be going home in a day or so. Yet another said pneumonia, another kidney failure. The one thing that was glaringly obvious was that each time some doctor came in, he/she knew absolutely NOTHING about my mother despite the supposed miracle of computerized medical records.
15 weeks ago
15 weeks ago Link To Comment
Father in law was treated the same way...at the VA. For years he was incapacitated and incapable of doing very much. Often times, he slipped into what the VA called psychosis and psychotic behaviors.

His hands tremored much like Parkinsons, it took all he could to concentrate and often talked to himself or rambled on.

Each time he went to the VA, he had a new doc and new round of prescriptions in addition to the thirty or so he was already taking.

By the time I came into the picture and inserted both my feet, he had wasted 20 years of life.

Demand for a new doc, and exclusive access to him, and removal over time of all the drugs returned him to a normal life

Those in the VA have had this problem for years. The novelty and sadness is that it is now becoming the norm in private care. I am sorry for your loss and suffering.
15 weeks ago
15 weeks ago Link To Comment
The USA is adopting the finest medical care, aping the systems of Canada, Great Britain, and Europe.

When the voters ask the politicians for medical, the voters will get exactly what they asked for.
15 weeks ago
15 weeks ago Link To Comment
"Hospitalists" and incompetent doctors are nothing new. Watch the George C. Scott/Diana Rigg movie "The Hospital" (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0067217/?ref_=ttmd_md_nm) for a 1971 example.
15 weeks ago
15 weeks ago Link To Comment
Hospitalists are one of many questionable medical and bioethical trends that existed before Obamacare, but are becoming more and more entrenched because of the new law. These doctors have a legitimate reason to exist, as many primary care physicians (PCPs) are voluntarily giving up hospital privileges to be able to have a life. You wouldn't want to work 60+ hours a week seeing patients and doing paperwork just to add another 20 hours a week visiting hospitals. For your entire career. Can't say I blame the PCPs at all for that. Hence hospitalists. The problem comes with the kind of experience Janine had, which is becoming more common.

One of the other trends includes creeping utilitarianism including "death panels" (which are real, but again predate Obamacare). Another is the ever burgeoning push to grab organs, with or without permission of the dying/dead patient or his/her family. The medical profession is changing for the worse, but these changes were already happening. The ACA is simply making them happen harder and quicker.
15 weeks ago
15 weeks ago Link To Comment
This story gives me the heebies. It's always about the pain medication. I've read about this before from others in the know. Someone in frail health can be finished off in a matter of days by being doped to the gills by powerful narcotics. A convenient way to get rid of the elderly, the chronically ill, the severely disabled, expensive "gomers" (look it up).

With younger, healthier people with expensive problems it can take a little longer but is just as reliable. Recalling the VA, last year there was another scandal involving injured servicemembers being prescribed bushels of narcotics sufficient to kill an elephant rather than more involved treatment and rehabilitation?
15 weeks ago
15 weeks ago Link To Comment
Janine, I'm sorry about your parents and your experience and I understand fully, I have very similar stories about my parents and hospital care in their last days over the past six years. The rate of daily errors is near 100%, if a patient doesn't have an aggressive advocate there the patient's odds of survival plummet. And trying to actually meet with the hospitalist is IMPOSSIBLE, they show up for their 30 second visit on no known schedule and CANNOT be found otherwise, and if the patient has a crisis they are not even a factor.

This was at a hospital that had a good word of mouth reputation but it may have been obsolete, the online ratings for it were below average - as I found out much later. But of course the hospitalists worked for my parents' medical group, not the hospital as such.

Their computer link was down when my father was admitted, the hospitalist vanished for 30 minutes trying to get basic data and never did, and was trying to question my father, suffering a heart attack in the ER, instead of asking me standing right there. And of course that was only the start.

The current system is really bad, and Obamacare promises to make it much worse, bonehead academics and bean counters at every turn, and the old cheap ass insurance companies using both as excuses to cut existing service in every way. Unbelievable.
15 weeks ago
15 weeks ago Link To Comment
I am very sorry to hear of your loss. You have my condolences.

The same thing happened to my ex-mother-in-law as happened to your mother. Fortunately my ex-wife was there to stop the medication that could have easily killed her. Yet another consequence of Obamacare. But don't worry - "If you like your doctor, you can keep him, period." What a liar this man is!
15 weeks ago
15 weeks ago Link To Comment
You may be an Obama supporter, but are you really willing to support others who will be given your tax money to pay for their health insurance? Those Obamacare subsidies are your tax money. Your rates go up to support them and your annual deductible amount goes up, too. Obama is trying to delay this, but from then on FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE you will pay those higher rates and deductible costs. Since the Democrats all voted for it, they can’t be depended on to join the effort. It’s up to us to vote for Republicans to get enough people in office who want to repeal the law. This is for all government levels. Remember, it’s YOUR money, so vote your pocketbook. This situation is hardly different from your taxes being assigned to pay insurance for an illegal alien, and that will happen when Amnesty is the law. If you don’t believe that surprise is buried in Obamacare, see
http://www.kaiserhealthnews.org/stories/2012/october/11/health-care-immigrants.aspx Also, medical taxes go up in 2014. See http://obamacarefacts.com/obamacare-taxes.php Join with us to our mutual benefit in the Primary elections and in November 2014.
15 weeks ago
15 weeks ago Link To Comment
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