HME News TV: A new referral source

Thursday, March 24, 2011

YARMOUTH, Maine - There's a new breed of physicians making rounds--quite literally--and HME providers should take notice, industry consultant Ty Bello told HME News TV recently.

Hospitalists treat patients only in the hospital, doing rounds and overseeing their general medical care, said Bello, president of Team@Work in Fort Wayne, Ind.

Hospitalists are well placed to make referrals--"right in the middle of discharge planners, case managers or respiratory departments," said Bello. The trick, he said, is figuring out how to contact these often "elusive" physicians.

"They have no office, they have no staff," said Bello. "They bounce from work station to work station in the hospital. How do we get a hold of them?"

Bello recommends starting with the hospital staff you already work with: the discharge planners, case managers and other physicians.

"Ask them how they work with the hospitalist, and how you can work with both them and the hospitalist," he said. "Or, see if you can do a lunch or an in-service on the services you provide and what those services are."

Bello estimates that there are currently about 15,000 hospitalists nationwide and says that every hospital will have at least one on staff by 2012. They are typically trained in internal medicine, but Bello said he's seen some hospitalists specializing in pediatrics, cardiology and obstetrics.

"It's yet another thing thrown at us," said Bello, "but the referrals are there and you've got to work with the hospitalists in order to get them."

To see the interview: