Working Together News

Combined Hospitalist Group Celebrates One-Year

National Jewish Health and Saint Joseph Hospital both place high importance on educating the next generation of providers. National Jewish Health is an academic medical center, and Saint Joseph Hospital has a long history of teaching interns and residents. The Faculty Inpatient Group was one of the first hospitalist groups at Saint Joseph Hospital. “The group was originally established to give medical school residents an opportunity to provide patient care, particularly to the uninsured, underserved and undocumented,” said Michael Morton, MD, Saint Joseph Hospital Director of Inpatient Services and Director of Hospital Medicine. 

When the joint operating agreement between National Jewish Health and Saint Joseph Hospital was formed in 2014, the hospitalist group from National Jewish Health also began caring for patients at Saint Joe’s. At that time, discussion about combining the National Jewish Health Hospitalist Group and the Faculty Inpatient Hospitalist Group began, as the collaboration between the two groups was natural. 

“We thought it would be great to combine these two groups as they both contribute to the education of residents and interns,” said Carrie Horn, MD, National Jewish Health Chief Medical Officer and Chief of the Division of Hospital and Internal Medicine. Dr. Morton agreed. “National Jewish Health and the Faculty Inpatient Team have similar missions, so it seemed like a logical merge,” he said.

As of March 2021, The National Jewish Health | Saint Joseph Hospital Hospitalist Group is celebrating its first year as being formally combined. The group is made up of attending physicians, both teaching and non-teaching, residents and interns. For residents and interns, this group creates opportunities to learn from more providers and see a wider variety of conditions. 

“If we have a patient with a complicated diagnosis that is open to work with residents, we can teach the residents in real time how to handle complicated patients,” said Dr. Horn. She explains that, in general, residents are not frequently exposed to rare or complicated conditions like the ones we see at National Jewish Health | Saint Joseph Hospital. These learning opportunities can create a larger population of doctors who know how to care for complicated patients.

The combined Hospitalist Group doesn’t just benefit residents; it also greatly benefits patients. “When you even the caseloads out across a larger team, physicians are more responsive to patients,” Dr. Morton said. Not only does responsiveness improve, but provider access improves. “It opens up more specialty care physicians who can provide inpatient and outpatient care.” Dr. Morton said this could greatly benefit the underserved, uninsured and undocumented populations.

“Both groups are excited to be part of the same team. It creates more streamlined care, which helps patient care and satisfaction, as well as provider engagement,” Dr. Morton said. Dr. Horn agrees. “It expands everybody’s horizon – patient, provider and resident.”