Dr. Jennifer DeLutis with her family at the Grand Canyon and Disney World
Hospitalist Jennifer DeLutis, M.D., serves as Treasurer of the Lancaster General Hospital Medical & Dental Staff. We asked Dr. DeLutis about why she chose hospital medicine, how she got into leadership – and her upcoming adventure.
What is your background?
I grew up in Boyertown. When I was 4, I wanted to be a doctor or a lawyer. When I was 7, I narrowed it down to a cardiologist or a neurologist. Then for a long time I wanted to be a family doctor. I went to college at Franklin & Marshall, and medical school and residency at Penn State in Hershey. Dr. Tara Tawil, who was a year ahead of me in residency, helped recruit me to join Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health Physicians Hospitalists. I’ve been here for 8½ years now.
How did you choose hospital medicine?
In my third year of medical school, I decided to become an internal medicine hospitalist. I love the hospital atmosphere and being able to see the effects of my interventions in a matter of a few days, versus months in the outpatient world. My personality is conducive to developing relationships and trust with patients when they’re really vulnerable, and to helping them and their families to cope.
What is your current role?
I have worked part time as a hospitalist and part time as a physician advisor since 2014. In July I will return to full-time clinical work as a nocturnist, which means I will work overnight shifts as a hospitalist. This will allow me to practice medicine and still be home to get my kids off the bus, have dinner, take them to their activities and coach my daughter’s softball team. With hospitalist work, there is the potential for a good work-life balance.
What is the role of a physician advisor?
I am one of four physicians who works with Utilization and Case Management to review hospitalizations for medical necessity, insurance company appeals, work on reducing length of stay and other challenging cases. It’s been a really great professional activity and something new to learn. I went to medical school to take care of patients, but the more behind-the-scenes side of medicine is also a reality. Physicians and health systems have to work with insurance companies in order to stay in business.
How did you get involved in a leadership role?
I became Treasurer of the Med Staff in 2015. Since I work in the hospital, I’m accessible and available. I plan to retire from LG Health someday, so I want to be involved in decision-making that affects the future. I would encourage younger providers to get involved and be part of the solution rather than grumbling about issues. I serve on the Medical Executive Committee and make an effort to attend department and division meetings. I also mentor F&M premed students who shadow me. I help with letters of recommendation, and we get together for coffee or lunch. I give them an idea of what being a doctor is really like.
What are some of your priorities as a leader?
Improving provider communication is a major area of focus for me. My goal is to never rely on just a computer to communicate. When I have a question, I prefer to reach out to other providers by phone, face to face or a page. Communication is becoming a lost art. By communicating effectively with each other, we will better serve our patients.
How do you manage the stress of your career?
I set boundaries and stick with them. When I’m at work, I work hard to do the best job that I can. But when I’m off, I’m not here. I focus on what I, my husband, my kids and our family need.
What do you like to do when you’re not at work?
My husband and I have a 10-year-old daughter and a 6-year-old son. I am an assistant coach for my daughter’s softball teams, and I’m thinking about coaching my son’s baseball teams someday. We spend a lot of time outside throwing in the yard or walking around the neighborhood. My husband and I are training to hike into the Grand Canyon in May, so I spend a lot of my free time at the gym or hiking local trails. Otherwise we keep it pretty low-key. I bake with my daughter, get together with friends, help with homework, and of course, drive our kids to their activities.