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Letting Go of Hospital Medicine

51 years ago, Pediatric Associates was founded with a goal of providing excellent comprehensive care to children from birth through adolescence.  With a location just across the street from Martha Jefferson Hospital, it was convenient for physicians to make rounds on newborns and sicker children needing admission.  Back then, our doctors debated if it was faster to hop in a car or just run across the street in the event of an emergency.  With the move of Martha Jefferson Hospital to Pantops, there were new logistical hurdles in managing patients in the office and being able to get to the hospital quickly.  We had to make many changes including bringing satellite doctors to our downtown office on their call days to be closer to the hospital and keeping a second provider in the office until 8pm to cover the time that the on-call provider might need to to respond to a hospital emergency.  Over the years more and more family practitioners and pediatricians gave up their hospital privileges ultimately leaving just Pediatric Associates responsible not only for our own patients, but all of the newborns delivered at Martha Jefferson Hospital.  Hospital emergencies during clinic hours pull the on-call doctor away, which leaves our clinic patients in the lurch, forces us to schedule patients in the late evening hours rather than daytime hours when families would prefer to be seen with a sick child, and places more strain on our providers having to juggle it all.  With the number of newborns delivered at Martha Jefferson expected to rise over the next few years, this burden is only expected to grow.  Although we have cherished being a part of the miracle of birth and honor the enormous responsibility that we have carried during the vulnerable transition to life, over a year ago we decided that providing this service to the community was taking away from our ability to give our patients the best care.  Now that our final days at Martha Jefferson are approaching this June, we are looking forward to what this change will mean for you including more availability of satellite doctors at their home offices, more capacity to see children during the day and earlier evening hours when they are sick, and a better ability to focus on taking the best care of our patients in the office each day.  Just as we have always done for families delivering at UVA or other facilities, we will be able to schedule that first check up and offer lactation visits 7 days a week.  We eagerly await the chance to meet your little one, even if it won’t be at the hospital!

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