Hospitalists are there when your doctor isn’t

06/24/2011 7:32 AM |

If you’re a patient at Eastern Long Island Hospital, you might be surprised at first to learn that your primary care physician isn’t managing your case during your stay. That’s because two hospitalists have been hired to ease the burden of physicians on staff by providing care coordination.

In consultation with your primary care physician and hospital staff members, Dr. Jarid Pachter, 33, and Dr. Daniel Massiah, 47, are coordinating your day-to-day care. They’re not replacing your primary care physician, but simply lightening the load for doctors who have previously had to manage their private practices while attending to their patients in the hospital.

The hospitalist specialty is somewhat new, but a similar program has been in place at Peconic Bay Medical Center in Riverhead for about two years and an increasing number of hospitals throughout the nation are finding that the system works well for doctors and patients, according to ELIH president and CEO Paul Connor III.

The two doctors Mr. Connor hired are “turning out to be quite excellent in these roles,” he said. Both have private practices on the North Fork — Dr. Pachter as a primary care physician with Southold Family Medicine and Dr. Massiah as a pulmonologist at East End Pulmonary Care in Riverhead.

Their contractual agreements with the hospital provide that they don’t offer private services to patients they see at ELIH.

“Any hospital administrator would be hesitant about private physicians working as hospitalists,” Mr. Connor said. But the hiring was done with the blessing of the ELIH medical staff and it’s working, he said.

“Both are invested locally and they get it,” he said. Both men receive “a high level of patient satisfaction” from those they treat.

So why does a doctor with a private practice want to take on the added burden of being a hospitalist?

Dr. Pachter, who has been a physician in Southold for a year, said he doesn’t just want to be “a referral service” for specialists, and his work with hospital patients enables him to remain involved with many types of cases.

For Dr. Massiah, it’s an opportunity to provide “a high level of care” to patients while experiencing the opportunity to be a well-rounded physician.

Both agree that their days are sometimes long, spending mornings at the hospital, afternoons at their own practices and sometimes returning to the hospital in the late afternoon or evening.

“When you’re passionate about the things that you do, you find that balance,” Dr. Massiah said.

“I’m very hands on,” Dr. Pachter said about the challenge of treating his hospital patients.

“It’s a lot of work,” he said. “But I always have a sense of satisfaction at the end of every day.”

Both men hadn’t envisioned their lives as physicians. Dr. Pachter anticipated being a personal trainer and said several years ago, when his grandfather died, he began evaluating his own life.

“You have one shot to make a difference,” he said.

He had done his undergraduate work at SUNY/Albany and returned to the University of New England in Maine for his medical studies.

It wasn’t so much the science of medicine that attracted him, as it was being involved with people, and he thought his career would land him in a rural community.

“There’s a lot of opportunity here on the North Fork,” he said, explaining that it’s important to him to continue to be challenged and experience growth as a physician.

Similarly, Dr. Massiah, who grew up in St. Lucia in the Caribbean, was mechanical and loved tinkering with antique automobiles. That might have become his career but for meeting Judy Ann Emanuele in college. She was a pre-med major when they met at Temple University and today she is a plastic surgeon based in Riverhead.

“[She was] very inspiring,” Dr. Massiah said of the woman who would become his wife. He went on to medical studies at Wayne State University and did his internship and residency at Stony Brook, where he also completed a fellowship program. He still tinkers with those antique cars in his spare time, he said.

The doctors are still in the process of developing the hospitalist program, Dr. Massiah said. The goal is to manage all the patients who come to the hospital and develop an efficient team to render the best care possible, he said.

Dr. Pachter describes the team of physicians at Eastern Long Island Hospital as a “tight-knit group” who work well with one another.

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