Research on hospitalist programs has primarily focused on large, urban facilities. To fill a gap in the literature on hospitalist use in rural hospitals, the authors conducted a national survey of 402 rural hospitals with 100 or fewer beds that had reported having hospitalists. The survey examined reasons for using hospitalists, characteristics of hospitalist practices, and the impacts of hospitalist use in rural settings. Rural hospitals most commonly establish a hospitalist program to address medical staff requests, call coverage, and quality issues. Respondents report positive impacts of hospitalist programs on quality of care and primary care physician recruitment and retention, but mixed financial impacts. Assessments of the impact of hospitalists in rural hospitals need to take into account the variety of practitioner specialties functioning as hospitalists, the amount of time they spend as hospitalists, and the multiple roles they play in the rural hospital and community.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: Support for this article was provided by the Office of Rural Health Policy, Health Resources and Services Administration (PHS Grant No. U1CRH03717).
- hospital-physician relationships
- inpatient care
- rural hospitals