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Med Care. 1991 Jul;29(7 Suppl):JS65-70.

Initiating the firm system at a community teaching hospital.

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  • 1Medical Center of Central Massachusetts, Worchester 01605-2982.


The Medical Center of Central Massachusetts-Memorial, a 350-bed private community teaching hospital, initiated a firm system for multiple reasons: to improve teaching, improve physician nursing relations, improve discharge planning, and to improve quality assurance/utilization review activities. In this system, private physician groups were randomized to four geographic medical wards, each of which had a distinctive subspecialty identity: oncology, cardiology, nephrology, and diabetes. Primary care internists became the Firm Directors, and subspecialists, already identified with those geographic wards, became Associate Firm Directors. The new system has produced several exciting successes; better bedside teaching and a project to shorten the length of stay of common diagnoses are two examples. Problems remain: resident complaints about imbalanced admissions and an increased census are two issues that we must overcome.

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