Home From The Editor The best of times?

The best of times?

June 2015
Group of doctors

Published in the June 2015 issue of Today’s Hospitalist

There are times when hospitalists don’t know whether they’re on top of the world or fodder for the next round of budget cuts at their hospital. Two of the stories in this month’s issue perfectly illustrate the reasons why hospitalists are suffering from a split personality “and both make good points about the state of hospital medicine in 2015.

Our cover story looks at programs that are feeling heat from their administrators to do some belt-tightening. From outright budget cuts to revised compensation plans that put more of hospitalists’ pay at risk, groups are being pressured to be good team players and to help their hospitals navigate the rocky waters of accountable care, reimbursement penalties and population-based medicine.

While most of the groups we talked to say they’re still recruiting physicians and nonphysicians, they feel like they’re under a dark cloud. U.S. health care is in the midst of so much change, and hospitalists are being urged to cut costs and prove their value.

Where hospital administrators see trouble, one veteran hospitalist sees potential. In our feature, Winthrop Whitcomb, MD, breaks down the changes that are on the horizon and what they mean for hospitals and hospitalists alike. In his view, the Affordable Care Act makes today the most exciting time ever to be in hospital medicine.

According to Dr. Whitcomb, the rise in accountable care organizations and bundled payments gives hospitalists not only a bigger role in how health care is run but perhaps more money in their pockets. While Dr. Whitcomb isn’t saying that embracing change will be easy, he sees plenty of opportunities for hospitalists in the changing health care environment.
Which view is right? Only time will tell, but these somewhat conflicting views say a lot about American health care today “and the role that hospitalists have to play.

edoyleEdward Doyle
Editor & Publisher
edoyle@todayshospitalist.com