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Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Why did HGH hire Hospitalist physicians?

A:  It has become increasingly difficult for local doctors to juggle demanding practices during the day while taking call all night and on weekends. At one point, the hospital had a pool of eight physicians who were willing to take call; today there are only a few. Additionally, emergency room patients who are admitted to the hospital without a resident physician have been of concern to the hospital. Hiring these Hospitalist physicians allows our local physicians to choose where their time is most valuable, while also ensuring the absolute best care for our in-patients.

Q: How often are the Hospitalists at Humboldt General Hospital?

A: There is always one Hospitalist physician on staff. Hospitalists work on a rotating basis; in general, they spend about 10 days at a time at Humboldt General Hospital. While at the hospital, they are on shift 24 hours a day to meet any patient needs that might arise.

Q: How did you recruit so many physicians at once?

A: We were fortunate to contract with the Rural Physician Group, which is staffed by physicians who are committed to providing excellent patient care in the most cost-efficient manner possible. Rural Physician Group has a great deal of experience in providing Hospitalist services with locations in Nevada, California, Colorado and Montana.

Q: Does this mean my physician can't take care of me in the hospital?

A: No, not at all. Your physician may choose to personally oversee your care while you are in the hospital or to turn your care over to the Hospitalist on staff. However, the Hospitalist physicians will be in constant communication with your regular physician and will share all results for immediate consultation and later follow-up. Once you are discharged from the hospital, you will be referred back to your resident physician.

Q: Are there any other benefits to having the Hospitalist physicians on staff?

A: Yes. Having Hospitalists on site will eliminate some transfers, allowing more patients to stay in Winnemucca. Wait times for emergency room patients who need to be admitted to the hospital also will be shortened. Additionally, the Rural Physician Group will be able to assist Humboldt General in improving its quality management and in-patient care protocols.

Q: Were local physicians involved in the decision-making process?

A: Humboldt General Hospital felt it was important to have local physicians' input before the hospital made its final decision. Area doctors met with each of three proposed Hospitalist companies, leaning in favor of Rural Physicians Group. The final decision to move forward was made by the Humboldt County Hospital District Board of Trustees.

Q: How do other staff members feel about the change?

A: They love it! The Hospitalist physicians work in partnership with nursing, other physicians and the clinical team to increase continuity and quality of care for patients and family members.

Q: What if I need to speak to the Hospitalist while my loved one is in the hospital?

A: Communication is vital to ensure our patient's needs are addressed without delay. Hospitalists are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week via a cell phone number with a local area code.

Q: Do patients seem satisfied by the change?

A: Very much so. We have a physician in house 24 hours a day to address patient and family concerns or questions. The Hospitalist group gives every patient their business card with their cell phone number and they encourage patients and families to call with any questions. This fosters increased communication with patients, families and the nursing staff, which ensures our patients' needs are being addressed in a caring and timely manner.

Q: Do the Hospitalists see patients for routine office visits?

A: No, the Hospitalists only treat in-patients at Humboldt General Hospital. They are not available to the general public for routine care.

Q: How much will these services cost the hospital each year?

A: Humboldt General Hospital will invest approximately $600,000 annually to maintain a Hospitalist program, but we do consider it an investment. Not only will Rural Physician Group help us meet our goal of improving the in-patient experience, but they also will help us improve the revenue and profitability of the hospital as Humboldt General Hospital will be able to enhance as well as re-capture some of the market share it loses when patients transfer to other facilities for care.