A surgeon dumps post-op patients to hospitalists

Is it ever ok for a hospitalist to be the primary physician in post-op cases?

The answer is no, but as The Happy Hospitalist reports, it’s happening in some cases.

He details an instance where a hospitalist program is being asked by an orthopedic surgeon to provide care for his post-op cases, with the surgeon only coming in for a visit on the day of discharge.

As Dr. Happy correctly states, it’s “one of the worst examples of patient abandonment I can imagine.”

The reasons are purely financial. Surgeons are paid a bundled fee to provide care for a 90-day period. By dumping post-op care to the internal medicine team, they can spend more time in the OR doing cases, thus increasing revenue.

Medicare would certainly be interested in what’s going on in that particular hospital.

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