Hospitalists Shorten Patient Stays

From the Washington Post:

Being cared for by hospital-based general physicians — also known as “hospitalists” — can shorten patients’ hospital stays, a U.S. study finds.

The study looked at more than 9,000 patients discharged from an academic medical center between July 2002 and June 2004.

The 2,913 patients cared for by hospitalists had an average hospital stay of just over 5 days, compared to nearly 6 days for the 6,124 patients cared for by non-hospitalists, reported researchers at Montefiore Medical Center in New York City.

“Hospitalist care had the strongest association with length of stay in patients with specific diagnoses, including cerebrovascular accidents (strokes), congestive heart failure, pneumonia, sepsis, urinary tract infections and asthma/chronic obstructive pulmonary disease,” the researchers wrote. “The close monitoring and continuous presence offered by hospitalists may allow for earlier discharge, because hospitalists are more likely to detect clinical improvement in real time and to make appropriate adjustments in treatment regimens.”

Tamper-Proof Prescriptions

From the Wall Street Journal Health Blog:

It looks like doctors and pharmacies will get a reprieve from a new rule requiring tamper-proof prescriptions for Medicaid patients.

Congress created the rule earlier this year, and it’s set to go into effect on October 1. But the Senate last night passed a bill that would push that back another six months, and a similar bill is moving through the House this week.

The shift is supposed to make it harder for patients to forge prescriptions. But doctors and pharmacies have said the quick implementation wouldn’t give them enough time to get ready and could result in patients not being able to get the medicine they need.