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How hospitalists help and hurt primary care

Wall Street Journal Health Blog, March 12, 2009

A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine says 19% of general internists were hospitalists in 2006, up from 6% in 1995. The increased role of hospitalists has come in part because managed care's declining payments to primary-care doctors forced them to see more patients in the office, to the detriment of their hospital rounds, says an editorial that accompanies the study. But while hospitalists have accommodated primary-care doctors, their role has also meant primary-care docs miss out on satisfying and important care, the editorial states.