Shortage Forces Local Doctors To Make Changes

Dr. Alan Keister
Dr. Alan Keister
Dr. Sheryl Williams
Dr. Sheryl Williams
Dr. William Biggs
Dr. William Biggs

By Megan Moore
NewsChannel 10

Amarillo, Texas - A major change may be coming your way when it comes to your stay in a local hospital.  But doctors say a change in medical personnel does not mean a change in quality.

Some of you may have received an email from Amarillo Medical Specialists.  It is from seven internal medicine doctors detailing their switch a hospitalist system, a system where patients will be in the care of a full time hospital doctor when they stay in either local hospital.

The doctors are making the switch because the primary care doctor shortage has increased their patient load to where they have a hard time running back and forth between clinics and hospitals.

But they say this change will not affect the quality of care patients receive.

Dr. Sheryl Williams, a hospitalist at BSA, says "we take care of the patient for the entire stay, we coordinate all the sub specialties, surgeons, any other medical care they might need and then we work very hard on discharge planning."

Dr. Alan Keister says not having this system in Amarillo has hindered recruitment of more doctors to ease the shortage.

He says, "we tried to recruit two or three physicians who turned down the offer because we weren't utilizing the hospitalist service."

But the doctors want patients not to worry.

Dr. William Biggs, manager of Amarillo Medical Specialists, says "the primary care physicians will still be available for consultation, to be called on the phone, to come see the patient, they can still participate in the patient's care."

Dr. Biggs says Amarillo is one of the last communities to move toward the trend.  He says it is because doctors here enjoy seeing each and every patient, no matter if the patient is in the hospital or at the doctor's office.

The changeover takes effect December 30th.