What percentage of hospitals are using hospitalists in 2012? Today's Hospitalist reported (via the American Hospital Association (AHA) 2012 Hospital Statistics edition) that 60% of hospitals now use a hospitalist program. That's three out of five hospitals that now have a new or mature hospitalist program. This number is up from just 30% in 2003. Why is that? Why would the number of hospitals using hospitalists continue to grow at such an astonishing rate? Why would hospitals continue to provide hospitalist subsidy and support payments of nearly $130,000 per hospitalist per year? Why does the hospitalist salary continue to rise year over year?
It's because hospitalists provide so many benefits to hospital systems that they are in invaluable asset in so many ways. Hospitals that spend the money on the front end will find their stable, mature and growing hospitalist programs will return millions of dollars on the back end. That's the hospitalist advantage many facilities need in an ever declining payment environment. With so many landmines, known and unknown, ready to blow a whole in the voodoo economics that is ObamaCare, having a stable hospitalist program in place to navigate that reality may be one of the only ways for many hospitals to survive.
What about the other 40% of hospitals without hospitalist programs? Give them time. These hospital systems will eventually understand what they are missing. Once hospitalist penetration as hit 100%, look for hospitalist growth from within as the Baby Boomers are just beginning their war path toward bankrupting the Medicare National Bank.