Hospitalist program welcomed at MMSC

Having physicians in the hospital ready for patient needs is the strategy behind the new hospitalist program at Marshalltown Medical & Surgical Center.

The program, in place since July 15, started at MMSC last month as a set of four doctors have been hired in a partnership with Cogent HMG.

An open house was held Thursday as the MMSC staff got to meet the hospitalist staff.

Dr. Lowell Palmer, regional medical director of the program, said his company saw a need for hospital-based care more than 10 years ago.

“It’s the fastest growing specialty in the country,” Palmer said.

This program will utilize doctors on site instead of having to call for family physicians.

“The clear advantage is you have a physician that’s in the hospital and ready to take care of your needs immediately,” Palmer said.

It can often come as a surprise for some patients that their own doctor isn’t visiting them at the hospital.

“The biggest transition is for the patients themselves,” Palmer said. “They are used to their family doctor of 20 or 30 years.”

Cogent HMG signed a contract with the hospital and they are employed through MMSC as independent contractors.

The patients will be billed separately from Cogent HMG, just as they would be billed separately from their primary care physician.

“It’s been really a great transition,” Palmer said.