Beginning August 5, McPherson Hospital will offer hospitalist services with Michael Bloustine, MD and Jennifer Alexander, APRN-C.
Beginning August 5, McPherson Hospital will offer hospitalist services with Michael Bloustine, MD and Jennifer Alexander, APRN-C. The article explores this new service line for the hospital and the people that will be providing patient care.
Hospitalists are physicians who specialize in the care of acutely ill patients admitted to hospitals.
They work at the request of family physicians to care for their patients while they are hospitalized.
This allows family practice physicians more time to care for patients in their clinics, while their hospitalized patients receive round-the-clock care.
For Dr. Michael Bloustine, this is exactly the form of medical practice that suits his professional interests.
Having recently completed his residency in internal medicine and pediatrics at the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Peoria, Bloustine comes to McPherson with an eagerness to make a positive impact on local healthcare for patients.
“While preparing for medical school, I worked at Via Christi St. Francis as a patient care technician and I really liked working in the hospital environment,” Dr. Bloustine said. “My residency training was hospital-focused, with strong exposure to complex illnesses, caring for patients as part of a multidisciplinary team, and working with patients, families and primary care doctors to smooth transitions in care.”
Bloustine completed his medical degree from the University of Kansas School of Medicine in 2009. His specialties are internal medicine and pediatrics. He is board-eligible and will soon take his exams for certifications from the American Board of Pediatrics and the American Board of Internal Medicine.
He sees himself as an extension of the family physician. One of his goals is to create as seamless an experience as possible at all points of care as hospital transitions occur. Bloustine said, “From admission to discharge, transitions of care are critical to patient success. Upon admission, the patient’s history, medications, and prior treatment are all considered in order to guide the care plan. And at discharge, consideration of new medications, changes in dosages or stopping meds may all be considered in consultation with the primary care physician as they reconnect with the patient.”
Hospitalists are also able to provide physician care to those patients who don’t have a primary care physician. They can assist in connecting a patient with a PCP upon discharge for follow up care, rehabilitation, or other care that may be needed.
For surgical patients, hospitalists can assist surgeons in the management of other medical issues that may complicate procedures such as diabetes or poorly controlled hypertension or other compounding problems.
According to Bloustine, another advantage of a hospitalist is the convenience for both a PCP and the patient to stay locally for hospital care. “It’s a hardship to go even 30 miles away when you are really sick and your family has to go with you,” he said. “Travel is very disruptive and if a family can stay local, that can make a big difference in the recovery process.”
While Bloustine will work with patients of family physicians who choose to utilize these services, these physicians will still be able to see their patients in the hospital. “I anticipate that physicians will make personal visits to their patients to check on progress from time to time,” commented Bloustine. “Having the patients stay local and receive physician oversight while hospitalized allows the doctors the flexibility to make visits when appropriate.”
In addition to working with the family practice physicians and hospital staff, Dr. Bloustine will have an assistant. Jennifer Alexander, APRN-C, will be assisting in the overall care and management of patients at the hospital. Alexander has a bachelor’s degree in nursing from Baker University and a master’s degree in nursing from the University of Kansas Medical Center, and is certified by the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners.
“Having one provider alone start a 24/7/365 service like this just isn't feasible,” Bloustine said.
“A nurse practitioner, trained and experienced in hospitalist medicine, will go a long way towards making this new service viable. Jennifer worked for many years as a hospitalist nurse practitioner in Topeka and she has experience building this kind of service. She knows not only how to take care of patients' medical issues, but also how to help manage the logistics that keep the service going.
“Nurse practitioners always work with physician oversight. In a hospitalist service, Jennifer will share in the work of admitting patients, performing daily rounds, and taking overnight call. We will always be working together as a team to ensure patients receive the best evidence-based care that we can provide at McPherson Hospital.”
Alexander added, “Our patients will get dual care while in the hospital. They will have two sets of eyes looking after them and providing care, and not just for the patient but also for family members.”
According to Rob Monical, McPherson Hospital CEO, the appointment of Dr. Bloustine is part of a strategy to add physicians and expand services. “Last fall, we were able to add family practice physician Dr. Andrea Herrera to our physician clinics,” he said. “We have been searching for an internist to provide support for our community’s family practice physicians. The hospitalist service we are providing allows family physicians the opportunity to be focused on their clinics where they can serve more patients during the day. And it allows us as a hospital to provide attentive, round-the-clock physician-managed care for their patients while hospitalized. This is a trend in healthcare that is growing and we are pleased to have the experience and level of care that Dr. Bloustine and Jennifer Alexander will provide.”
Chief of Medical Staff and family practice physician Dr. Shelley Overholt commented, “The addition of hospitalist services is a trend that has grown dramatically over recent years. I first started working with hospitalists for transfers to Wichita at least ten years ago; Salina and Hutchinson promote their hospitalist services now too. I think this trend is growing because it's good for the patients (shorter hospital stays, more intensive care, staying closer to home), it's good for the hospitals (having someone to coordinate the care and check on the patients multiple times per day), and it's good for the primary care physicians like myself. Those of us who will utilize Dr. Bloustine's services can now free up some office appointments we held back in case we were needed at the hospital, and we should be less fatigued from middle-of-the-night admissions.
“That Dr. Bloustine is not only an internist (specialist in adult medicine) but is also a fully trained pediatrician makes him a particularly great addition to McPherson Hospital. I think parents bringing their children to our emergency department should feel reassured that the ED physician now has a pediatrician for back-up on critical care cases and admissions.
“Patients should also be reassured that Dr. Bloustine is very committed to communication with the primary care physicians (like myself) from the beginning of admission to the end. I consider the addition of this hospital service to be like the addition of a partner to my group. We will be working together to make sure special details of the patients' history are taken into consideration, and details of the hospitalization make their way back to the office physician.”
Dr. Bloustine is a Kansas native. He grew up in Louisburg, just south of Kansas City, but he already likes McPherson, having arrived in June to begin to get settled in the community and to prepare for his practice.
“I was in McPherson at the hospital during my rural rotation as a medical student, so I’m familiar with the hospital and the staff,” he said. “McPherson is a true community, with progressive industries and lots of activities. I am excited to be a part of this great town and healthcare community.”