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Hospitalist Program Celebrates 20 Years

By Buffalo Medical Group | July 30 2019 | BMG News & Updates

Our BMG Hospitalist Program is celebrating their 20th anniversary! This program based on coordinated care, has brought much efficiency to the group, and has allowed us to provide the high-quality of care we strive for, even when our patients are outside of our offices.

Dr. Ray Ogra, the Hospitalist Program founding member, and Co-Medical Director for In-Patient Sub-Acute Medicine, and Dr. Matthew Smith, Co-Medical Director for In-Patient and Sub-Acute Medicine, and former Buffalo Medical Group Board Chair, take a look back on how the Hospitalist Program began, the impact it has on our patients and physicians, and where they see it headed in the future.

How did the Hospitalist Program begin?

Before the Hospitalist Program was established, our primary care physicians were experiencing challenges in caring for their patients while they were hospitalized, and were having to dedicate time in the hospitals, which decreased time in their offices. The situation wasn’t ideal and a new way to deliver hospital care needed to be established.

In comes Dr. Ogra. He always had a profound love, and skill, for caring for sick hospitalized people. This skill set was coupled with the visionary thought of CEO, Daniel Scully, former Medical Director and Primary Care Physician, Dr. Irene Snow, and former Medical Director and Vascular Surgeon Dr. Richard Peer, to create a solution to the hospital care challenges BMG was facing, which began the Hospitalist Program in 1999.

What was the initial goal of the Hospitalist Program?

The goal was to create streamlined, efficient and high-quality care that was tightly integrated with our patients’ primary care physicians. If a primary care patient found themselves in the hospital, one of the hospitalist providers would assume care responsibilities, and help oversee care if the patient needed a specialist.

The hospitalist provider would remain in contact with the regular primary care physician. This allowed our primary care physicians to remain in the out-patient, office setting, while still having access to their patients’ care while they were hospitalized.

How has the Hospitalist Program grown since its inception in 1999?

In 2003, Dr. Matthew Smith joined Dr. Ogra, which launched a new chapter of growth. Dr. Smith brought a keen intellect, coupled with his own business acumen and dedication to excellent care. From this partnership, new success was seen, and the Hospitalist Program has since become available in five (5) major hospitals, one (1) sub-acute facility, has grown from one (1) provider to over 90, and has the largest hospitalist footprint in WNY.

Why is this service is so vital to our BMG patients and the community?

Hospitalists are now a dominant force in hospitals both locally and in most US communities. Their responsibilities stretch beyond just medical care for patients, and also includes management of hospital resources, patient navigation of inpatient complexities, offering a highly satisfying patient experience, level of care determinations, integrated support to specialists, and resident teaching.

The BMG Hospitalist Program ensures patients are receiving first-rate care in our community hospitals and sub-acute facilities. The Hospitalist team acts as a super-charged group of providers who really know what’s going on at these sites, and the best way to care for patients when in need of this level of care.

What are the future goals for the Hospitalist Program:

  • Continue to honor the earliest principles to embrace team-based care
  • Promote the health and wellness of our Hospitalist provider team to allow for professional resilience, heartfelt compassion in care, and academic excellence
  • Grow the number of providers within the program to be able to fulfill the needs of BMG and our patient base
  • Broaden the use of emerging technologies to optimize efficiency

How do patients take advantage of the Hospitalist Program?

If you are a primary care patient of BMG, or a patient of an affiliated practice*, you are eligible to use our Hospitalist Program. The process is simple:

  1. During normal office hours, always call your doctor first to find out if your condition is appropriate for the hospital.**
  2. If a hospital visit is deemed necessary, your doctor may be able to arrange for direct admission to the appropriate site, helping you to skip the wait and long check-in process upon arrival.
  3. For more urgent situations, or situations that arise outside of normal office hours, if you’re unable to talk to your doctor prior to going to the hospital, simply let the site team know upon check-in that you are a patient of Buffalo Medical Group. This will allow our BMG Hospitalist team to take over your care, or maintain a close consultative role if you’re in need of a specialist.
  4. Once you are ready for discharge, all pertinent records are automatically transmitted to your BMG chart, and your doctor, as well as personal communication with your doctor who will be managing ongoing care.

*Talk to your doctor to see if they are affiliated with our Hospitalist Program

**Please note: If you feel you are in an urgent, emergency situation, immediately go to the hospital, or call 9-1-1.

As a department, Dr. Ogra and Dr. Smith, along with the other members of the Hospitalist Program feel indebted to the founding members of BMG, whose visionary plan of bringing teamwork home from WWII paved the way for our modern-day style of care.

Hospitalism 20 years into the future will no doubt include even more innovation than what we’ve already seen in the previous 20 years, and we’re excited for what’s to come!