Glenwood doctor the new hospitalist at Valley View
Glenwood Springs correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado
GLENWOOD SPRINGS ” Dr. Al Saliman admits he’ll miss the regular patient interaction and relationships he’s built over 23 years as a primary care physician at Glenwood Medical Associates.
But Saliman’s new post as Valley View Hospital’s first-ever chief medical officer/hospitalist is also admittedly a bit of a “dream job,” he said.
Saliman, 54, officially made the move from Glenwood Medical to Valley View last week. His duties include overseeing medical safety and quality assurance and serving as the intermediary between the hospital and medical staffs regarding medical affairs.
One of his primary tasks, however, will be to develop an in-house hospitalist program at Valley View, of which he will be an integral part once it’s up and running.
“With the growth of the hospital, and the growing complexities of taking care of people who are in the hospital, we decided it was best to provide this service internally,” Saliman said.
A “hospitalist” is a hospital-based physician who doesn’t have a separate practice, who is available to work directly with hospital patients. This frees up the outside medical staff to focus on patients who come to their offices for appointments.
Valley View has relied on what Saliman termed a “blended” hospitalist system, where the five internists at Glenwood Medical take turns spending a week at a time serving as the hospital-based physician. They also rotate on the night shift at the hospital.
A growing health care trend nationally has been to provide hospitalist services with one or more in-house physicians; Aspen Valley Hospital has had a hospitalist for close to two years. Hospitalists can also be useful to the various specialists in the hospital who may need to consult with a primary care physician on a patient’s medical history prior to a surgical procedure.
Saliman said his goal will be to assemble a team of physicians to provide coverage 24 hours a day, seven days a week within the hospital.
“This will assure there is someone in the hospital to attend to a patient within a reasonable period of time after they’ve been admitted,” Saliman said. “Ultimately, this will help expedite the amount of time in the hospital, and the cost to the patient.”
He said it could take anywhere from six months to two years to fully implement the program, depending on recruitment. But that’s one of the challenges, he said.
“Internal medicine is under a lot of stress these days,” Saliman said. “Only one in 10 medical students goes into primary care.”
Saliman will also continue to spend about half his time in the hospitalist rotation once the program is fully implemented.
“That’s the best way to really know what’s going on, is to stay involved directly with patient care,” he said.
“I am thrilled and very appreciative to have this kind of an opportunity,” Saliman added. “It is a dream job for me, in the sense that I’m still doing patient care, along with the administration work and teaching.”
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