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IDPH, ICAHN release research on impact of hospitalist program


Critical access hospitals (CAH) have added hospitalist programs as an option to improve physician recruitment and retention and to support their inpatient services. A hospitalist is a physician that only sees patients in the hospital, not outside the hospital. The unanswered question is whether adding a hospitalist program has made a difference for Illinois CAHs? What are the advantages and challenges of such a program? Should all CAHs consider providing hospitalist services, especially when rural communities struggle to attract and maintain rural providers?

The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), Center for Rural Health and the Illinois Critical Access Hospital Network (ICAHN) partnered to fund a hospitalist study to evaluate current hospital practices and their impact among those Illinois CAHs who have a hospitalist program. The purpose of this study was to provide feedback for CAHs and other rural hospitals, hospital leadership, and governing boards considering a program. 

They are pleased to announce the release of the "Illinois Critical Access Hospital Study," conducted by the National Center for Rural Health Professions, University of Illinois Health Science Center at Rockford, February 2015.  

Authors Martin MacDowell, Dr. PH, MS, MBA, Katherine Johns, MS, Dana Evans, MS Ed, and Hana Hinkel, MPH, found the program showed improvement in physician relationships as well as in clinical care continuity for inpatients. There are a number of challenges and costs to a hospital adding such a program and continued evaluation is necessary to determine long-term effectiveness. Details and hospital and physician feedback on the program are valuable components of the study.

Click here to review the full report.

For more information, contact Julie Casper at IDPH at (217) 782-1624 or the Illinois Critical Access Hospital Network at (815) 875-2999.

Funding was made available through the Medicare Rural Hospital Flexibility Grant program of the Health Resources and Services Administration and the Illinois Department of Public Health.