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A hospitalist’s letter to Santa

December 2009

Dear Santa,
I have tried really hard to be a good hospitalist this year. I’ve sat on committees, completed all of my medical records on time and called all of the primary care physicians about their patients at discharge.

I’ve stayed late to meet with families and sat through daily case management rounds. I’ve worked extra on my days off and helped cover while partners were away or sick. I have improved quality, lowered costs and gotten high patient satisfaction scores, so I think I deserve a visit from you this year.

If you would be so kind as to consider my requests, I could really use the following:

  • A neurosurgeon who sees the patient the same day he is consulted.
  • Two more hospitalists to fully staff our group (and if one of them could be a nocturnist, that would be great!)
  • A nurse practitioner or PA who loves to do discharges.
  • A stress test result before 4 p.m.
  • An orthopedic surgeon who admits his own patients and consults the hospitalist.
  • A trip to the annual SHM meeting, this year in Washington.
  • A health care reform package that incentivizes young, would-be physicians to enter primary care specialties.
  • Peace amongst the medical staff (especially the surgeons)
  • Accurate quality data (so my bonus will be right this year
  • A transcriptionist who can get the discharge summary done in time to give a copy to the patient and get one to the primary physician on the day of discharge (yes, even on Sunday).
  • An ED doc who has a working diagnosis when she calls me. If she could start treatment in the ED, that would be an added bonus.
  • An EMR that doesn’t add more work to my day.
  • A new putter.

I know it’s a lot to ask for but I have been really, really good this year. Some of the gifts won’t fit down the chimney, so it is OK to deliver them straight to the hospital and put them in the medical staff lounge. I’ll take it from there. Thank you, Santa, and Merry Christmas!