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Collaboration Brings Pediatric Hospitalists to ... - Magazooms

Collaboration Brings Pediatric Hospitalists to ... - Magazooms

Lead

Lead Story The demand for pediatric hospitalists exceeds supply, but thanks to an innovative program involving Children’s Hospital and AnMed Health System, pediatric hospitalists from Greenville Hospital System provide 24/7 coverage for the Anderson community. Pediatric Hospitalists Serve Anderson Area Since the collaborative program’s launch in July 2008, it has evolved to include round-the-clock coverage of the pediatric unit and a pediatric urgent care facility. Most days, Jaxson Wages leads the life of a typical 3-year-old, running, playing, talking a mile a minute and generally bouncing off the walls of his family’s Anderson home. But on days when Jaxson gets sick, everything changes. Jaxson was diagnosed at 10 days old with the metabolic disorder glutaric aciduria, so every incident that puts added stress on his small body has the potential to become a metabolic crisis. For Jaxson’s mother, that means a trip to the hospital for almost every ear infection and high fever. “He’s been in a total of 10 times now,” said Jenna Wages. “There has been twice, maybe, that he’s been sick and hasn’t been admitted.” Dr. Howard and the GHS-trained pediatric hospitalist team at AnMed Health are able to provide inpatient care for children such as 3-year-old Jaxson Wages, allowing their families to access high-quality pediatric care in their own community. 2

The family lives less than 20 minutes from AnMed Health’s Women’s and Children’s Hospital, so Wages hoped she could find the resources to properly care for Jaxson’s condition there. Jaxson’s first admission to AnMed Health, in February 2009, was shortly after the inauguration of an innovative collaboration between AnMed Health and GHS that brought a group of pediatric hospitalists from Children’s Hospital to Anderson to provide dedicated care for pediatric inpatients. A 30-mile Relationship “We’re so close in proximity, and there are so many pediatric resources in Greenville, that it posed this unique opportunity to take pediatric care to a patient’s own community,” said Carley Howard, M.D., medical director of Anderson Inpatient Pediatrics at GHS. Mike Tillirson, M.D., executive vice president and chief medical officer at AnMed Health, said the differences between the two communities determine how each system focuses its resources, but their proximity allows sharing resources to provide stellar patient care. “This is the right kind of relationship for health systems in adjoining counties to have – one of working together,” Dr. Tillirson emphasized. “AnMed Health System is strong, and it does its mission exactly the way it should, but we’re very blessed to have an even larger system just 30 miles away.” Since the program’s launch in July 2008, it has evolved to include round-the-clock coverage of the pediatric unit – 22 beds on a dedicated floor with pediatric-trained nurses and pediatric-trained respiratory therapists. In addition, a pediatric urgent care facility – Kids’ Care – opened in 2010. Two of the 12 members of the hospitalist team work full-time at Kids’ Care, and the other 10 rotate through both areas of the hospital. Pediatricians, Take Hart Keith Hart, M.D., a pediatrician at AnMed Health Pediatric Associates, said the advent of the hospitalist program has relieved some of the strain that has been an accepted, albeit challenging, part of the job for outpatient pediatricians. “When you’ve got a sick child over in the nursery at the hospital, and you’re trying to see patients in the office, you’re always so torn,” Dr. Hart stated. “I felt like I needed to be in two places at one time.” Although the care provided by the pediatric hospitalist team during daytime hours is a major benefit, he sees a larger benefit for both patients and outpatient pediatricians in having an attending physician close by if an emergency arises during the night. “I can tell parents, ‘If your child is sick in any way, we have hospitalists right there,’ ” Dr. Hart said. “That’s the biggest benefit, just having them there if a child’s condition worsens, if somebody comes up suddenly sick, if a seizure occurs. It makes going home a lot easier in the evening when you’re on call, knowing that somebody’s there to back you up.” The pediatric hospitalist team also serves as a link to other subspecialists at Children’s Hospital. Although AnMed Health houses a Level I and II nursery, the hospitalists have a close relationship with the medical staff at the Level III Bryan Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Children’s Hospital, the state’s biggest and most advanced NICU. “We’re able to call them and do phone consultations on patients, and really make the best decision on the appropriate level of care for the patient,” said Dr. Howard. “We might determine a baby needs to be transferred, and in such cases, Children’s Hospital has a NICU ambulance and a transport team with a neonatal nurse and a neonatal respiratory therapist who will come pick up the patient.” The hospitalists can do the same with pediatric subspecialists ranging from cardiologists to nephrologists, and some of those specialists keep office hours during which they can see patients for followup visits in AnMed Health’s outpatient offices, often saving patients and their families a trip to Greenville. “Hospitalists are the connection to our subspecialists in Greenville, so it puts us that much closer to them when there’s a special instance in which those subspecialists need to be addressing things as well,” noted Dr. Hart. “Having pediatric hospitalists at AnMed Health really has made our lives a whole lot better – and it certainly has made our office run a lot more smoothly.” – Keith Hart, M.D. 3

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