The proportion of inpatient care provided by hospitalists has more than quadrupled since 1995, and many studies have found that patients cared for by hospitalists go home sooner than those who receive hospital care from their primary care physicians.
Shorter lengths of stay save hospitals money and could be a sign of higher-quality care, but a new study of nearly 60,000 Medicare patients over five years sheds light on how hospitalist-treated patients fare after they are discharged.
The patients cared for by hospitalists were discharged more than half a day earlier than patients treated by their primary care physicians, and their hospital charges were $282 lower on average. But the hospitalists’ patients were 18% more likely to visit the emergency department within 30 days of leaving the hospital and 8% likelier to be rehospitalized within a month.
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