Tresa McNeal, M.D., division director for inpatient medicine at the system’s Scott & White Medical Center, Temple, Texas, was kind enough to catch me up on what’s happening in that regard. Also part of the conversation was Melody Mallory, the medical center’s APP manager.

The medical center’s use of physician assistants as hospitalists has grown about 130 percent to having 38 PAs on staff since I last wrote about them in 2014, McNeal says.

She says the med center was able to manage that growth in part because of a robust onboard training program that lasts at least six weeks but can go to 10 weeks, depending on the PA’s experience within a hospital. Mallory notes that the program is designed to make them a part of the hospitalist team working at the top of their license.

In addition, the responsibilities of the PAs have grown. “There are even more ways that they’re helping us,” McNeal says.

And one of the biggest ways is in treating patients with sepsis. In June 2014, a multidisciplinary team developed a protocol that streamlined processes to recognize sepsis earlier, so that they could begin treatment earlier, McNeal says.

In that time, Scott & White Medical Center experienced more than a 22 percent reduction in inpatient mortality related to sepsis. “Our PAs were at the lead for that process,” she says.

Doing something interesting with your hospitalist program? Let me know at pbarr@aha.org.