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2003 Press Releases
Morton Plant North Bay Hospital Launches Hospitalist Program

NEW PORT RICHEY, Fla. (March 21, 2003)-Morton Plant North Bay Hospital is bringing one of the growing trends in patient care to West Pasco with the addition of its hospitalist program. Staffed by a team of physicians, the program is geared to provide patients who do not have a physician with a medical team to coordinate care during a hospital stay.

"Our hospitalist program will answer a significant need for our patients, many of whom do not have a physician," said William Jennings, administrator and chief operating officer. "These patients are typically admitted to the hospital through the emergency room. With the hospitalist team, the patient has access to a physician who will monitor their care throughout their stay." Defined as physicians who specialize in the care of hospitalized patients, most hospitalists are medical doctors certified in internal medicine. Hospitalists function as any admitting physician would, ordering diagnostic tests and lab work, planning treatment and consulting specialty physicians when needed.

To oversee its hospitalist initiative, Morton Plant North Bay has appointed Richard Wacksman, M.D. as medical director of the program. "Hospitalists can also be an asset to physicians by partnering with them to coordinate inpatient care. This gives community physicians the opportunity to concentrate their attention on their office practice and outpatient care,"said Wacksman. "Physicians can track inpatient progress without leaving the office setting."

The first and only one of its kind in Pasco County, the hospitalist program is staffed with two full-time and two part-time physicians. Benefits of this individualized attention include reduced variation in care, better patient-physician communication, reduced length of stay for the patient and increased patient satisfaction. "One of the most significant advantages is that a hospitalist is on site improving the ability to coordinate inpatient care and respond immediately to test results and changes in a patient's medical status," said Wacksman.

According to the National Association of Inpatient Physicians, there are approximately 6,000 hospitalists throughout the country, with an expectation for that number to quadruple by the end of the decade.

Joining the Morton Plant North Bay staff as medical director, Dr. Wacksman has more than 20 years of medical/surgical and critical care services experience. A graduate of the American University of the Caribbean, Dr. Wacksman completed his fellowship in critical care medicine at Albany Medical Center Hospital, Albany, New York. He was a Clinical Professor of Medicine at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and is a member of the American College of Physician Executives and the Society of Critical Care Medicine. Dr. Wacksman is board certified in internal medicine, critical care medicine and pediatrics.

Established in 1965, Morton Plant North Bay Hospital is a 122-bed facility dedicated to improving the health of all it serves through community-owned health services that set the standard for high quality, compassionate care. Morton Plant North Bay Hospital is located at 6600 Madison Street, New Port Richey, Fla., (727) 842-8468.

Contact: Beth Hardy

MPNB Public Relations

727/ 298-6199 Phone

727/ 419-4471 Pager

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