Letter from the Editor

We hope some of the Top Hospitalists profiled in this issue will be new to you, as part of our mission is to shine a light on excellent, unsung work in the hospitalist community.

We're very excited to present to you our third annual Top Hospitalists issue. Every year this issue is a collaborative effort, beginning with our readers nominating the most impressive, hardworking colleagues they know. Our editorial board then whittles the nominees to 10 they deem truly outstanding—no easy task, given the large crop of qualified physicians this year. We hope that some of the hospitalists featured will be new to you, as part of our mission is to shine a light on excellent, unsung work in the hospitalist community. Leaders in quality improvement and patient safety, community and academic hospitalists, teachers and mentors—all are represented, and more. We look forward to hearing your feedback on our choices, and hope you'll be inspired to nominate your own candidate for 2011.

Also in this issue, we look at how to handle conflict between physicians, patients and families over end-of-life care. Often these disputes center around unwillingness by family members to withhold or withdraw treatment when a hospitalist believes it is in a patient's best interest. While this common ethical dilemma rarely reaches a courtroom, or a point of deciding if a given hospitalist will continue treating a patient, it can make work stressful. In Charlotte Huff's story, experts offer advice on how to avoid reaching a place of irreversible discord, how to help families and patients with difficult choices, and what to do when you come to an impasse.

Our Success Story takes a look at how Olive View-UCLA Medical Center used a hospitalist service to overcome the 2007 resident work hour restrictions and increase patient census while decreasing payment denials. It is, of course, a particularly timely subject, given the most recent work hour changes that will further limit first-year interns to 16-hour shifts. And speaking of medical education, our Student Hospitalist column humorously examines the way loved ones confer the role of personal physician to aspiring doctors the minute they get accepted into medical school—and sometimes before. Read on to discover how one medical student has chosen to handle this unrequested (and unpaid) position.

We would love to hear your thoughts on our Top Hospitalists, or any other item in the magazine. Please email us.

Jessica Berthold
Editor, ACP Hospitalist