PINEHURST — Twenty years ago, FirstHealth of the Carolinas welcomed a new type of program with specialists that focus on the medical care of hospitalized patients.
The FirstHealth Hospitalist Service was established on Feb. 1, 2003, by internal medicine physicians Daniel DiFrischia, M.D., Mark Medford, M.D., Jenifir Bruno, M.D., and former medical director of the program Mitchell Wilson, M.D. Scarlett Blue, MSN, R.N., served as the administrative director of the program.
The program initially began at Moore Regional with the four physicians admitting and caring for patients from FirstHealth’s family medicine clinics. Twenty years later, the program has grown to include more than 100 inpatient hospitalist providers specializing in the care of hospitalized patients at Moore Regional in Pinehurst, MRH-Richmond in Rockingham, MRH-Hoke in Raeford and Montgomery Memorial in Troy.
In 2013, the FirstHealth Hospitalist Service expanded by adding pediatricians to the program who are responsible for the in-hospital care of infants in Moore Regional’s newborn nursery and pediatric patients being cared for in the inpatient pediatric unit.
A year later, the program expanded again, this time with the addition of neurohospitalists to the service. Neurohospitalists are hospital-based neurology physicians who specialize in the care of patients with neurological conditions such as stroke and other diseases of the nervous system.
In 2016, intensivists, also known as critical care providers, were added to the FirstHealth Hospitalist Service. Intensivists specialize in the care of critically ill patients, most often in an intensive care unit.
According to Dan Barnes, D.O., president of FirstHealth Physician Group and former medical director of the FirstHealth Hospitalist Service, the program has made a significant impact in hospital care.
“The substantial growth in the hospitalist service at FirstHealth and across the country over the last 20 years demonstrates the value hospitalists bring to inpatient care by improving quality and safety, reducing the length of stay for hospitalized patients and enhancing efficiency and coordination of care.”
FirstHealth Hospitalists are in the hospital 24 hours a day, seven days a week to manage every part of a patient’s hospital care. The FirstHealth Hospitalist Service is comprised of 112 inpatient providers including physicians, physician assistants and nurse practitioners who specialize in internal medicine, critical care, neurology and pediatrics.