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Interview with Dr. Thomas Covaleski, director of Penn State's Hospitalist Program at Mount Nittany Medical Center

Click here to listen to MP3 file of the interview

Medical Minute; 2:40

"Announcer:  The 3WZ Medical Minute is brought to you by Mount Nittany Medical Center – Mount Nittany Life Forward. Our guest today is Dr. Thomas Covaleski. He is the director of Penn State’s Hospitalist Program at Mount Nittany Medical Center. Thanks for joining us today.

Dr. Thomas Covaleski:  Thanks for having me.

Announcer:  Let’s start off by explaining what exactly a hospitalist is.

Dr. Thomas Covaleski:  A hospitalist is a physician and also physician extenders who work full time in the hospital. They don’t have any office, and they pretty much specialize in care of patients in a hospital – both in admissions, during the daily visits, and facilitating discharges, to help move someone through the system more quickly.

Announcer:  Why is this type of program important for Mount Nittany Medical Center?

Dr. Thomas Covaleski:  Mount Nittany Medical Center, like many hospitals, are interested in providing the best quality of care to their patients. And having physicians in the hospital 24 hours a day, 7 days a week will provide up-to-date care at any hour of the day when the patient would need to see a physician. We can interpret tests, meet with families, respond to questions and concerns any time of the day and really provide just a better experience with the doctor-patient relationship during their inpatient stay.

Announcer:  How are hospitalists assigned to patients?

Dr. Thomas Covaleski:  Hospitalists partner with family physicians in the community to work in a collegial manner to care for patients from a physician’s office. The physician can call us and say they have a patient that needs to be admitted. Or if the patient comes through to the Emergency Department, we would be in contact with the patient’s family doctor regarding their stay, how they are doing, and especially on discharge to provide them with up-to-date information so they can care for the patient once the patient leaves the hospital. One of our main goals of our hospitalist team is to have a open dialogue continually with the primary care physicians so that they know what’s going on with the patient on a daily basis and especially on discharge so they know what’s going to happen once the patient leaves the hospital. One important thing that Mount Nittany has in place is they an electronic medical record so that a family physician from their office can log onto the hospital system and view the patient’s data information and care on a minute-to-minute basis so that they can keep up to date. 

Announcer:  And what type of training did you receive to become a specialist in inpatient care?

Dr. Thomas Covaleski:  There are currently some accredited hospitalist fellowship programs. Most hospitalists practicing today have received the traditional training through internal medicine or family medicine, which a large bulk of our training is spent on inpatient care. Many physicians, like myself, just seem to enjoy that type of care – the acuity of the care more – and have decided to make this more of our career rather than a career in the office.

Announcer:  Dr. Thomas Covaleski, director of Penn State’s Hospitalists Program at Mount Nittany Medical Center, has been our guest today. Thanks for joining us.

Dr. Thomas Covaleski:  Thank you very much. 

Announcer:  The 3WZ Medical Minute is brought to you by Mount Nittany Medical Center – Mount Nittany Life Forward."  


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