Regionalization of Critical Care in the United States: Current State and Proposed Framework from the Academic Leaders in Critical Care Medicine Task Force of the Society of Critical Care Medicine

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1 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVES: The Society of Critical Care Medicine convened its Academic Leaders in Critical Care Medicine taskforce on February 22, 2016, during the 45th Critical Care Congress to develop a series of consensus papers with toolkits for advancing critical care organizations in North America. The goal of this article is to propose a framework based on the expert opinions of critical care organization leaders and their responses to a survey, for current and future critical care organizations, and their leadership in the health system to design and implement successful regionalization for critical care in their regions. DATA SOURCES AND STUDY SELECTION: Members of the workgroup convened monthly via teleconference with the following objectives: to 1) develop and analyze a regionalization survey tool for 23 identified critical care organizations in the United States, 2) assemble relevant medical literature accessed using Medline search, 3) use a consensus of expert opinions to propose the framework, and 4) create groups to write the subsections and assemble the final product. DATA EXTRACTION AND SYNTHESIS: The most prevalent challenges for regionalization in critical care organizations remain a lack of a strong central authority to regulate and manage the system as well as a lack of necessary infrastructure, as described more than a decade ago. We provide a framework and outline a nontechnical approach that the health system and their critical care medicine leadership can adopt after considering their own structure, complexity, business operations, culture, and the relationships among their individual hospitals. Transforming the current state of regionalization into a coordinated, accountable system requires a critical assessment of administrative and clinical challenges and barriers. Systems thinking, business planning and control, and essential infrastructure development are critical for assisting critical care organizations. CONCLUSIONS: Under the value-based paradigm, the goals are operational efficiency and patient outcomes. Health systems that can align strategy and operations to assist the referral hospitals with implementing regionalization will be better positioned to regionalize critical care effectively.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)37-49
Number of pages13
JournalCritical Care Medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Dr. Galvagno’s institution received funding from the Department of Defense; he received funding from Northwest Anesthesia Seminars and from expert defense for medicolegal work. Dr. Jacobi received funding from Visante, Merck, Pfizer, American Society of Health System Pharmacists, and a Pharmacy Continuing Education group. The remaining authors have disclosed that they do not have any potential conflicts of interest.

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © 2021 by the Society of Critical Care Medicine and Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All Rights Reserved.


  • Access center
  • Business plan
  • Critical care
  • Critical care organization
  • Interhospital transfers
  • Regionalization
  • Telemedicine
  • Value-based care

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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