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West J Med. 1998 May;168(5):303-10.

California's county hospitals and the University of California graduate medical education system. Current issues and future directions.

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California Association of Public Hospitals and Health Systems, Berkeley 94704, USA.


California's county hospitals train 45% of the state's graduate medical residents, including 33% of residents in the University of California system. This paper describes the interrelationships of California's county hospitals and the University of California (UC) graduate medical education (GME) programs, highlighting key challenges facing both systems. The mission of California's county health care systems is to serve all who need health care services regardless of ability to pay. Locating UC GME programs in county hospitals helps serve the public missions of both institutions. Such partnerships enhance the GME experience of UC residents, provide key primary care training opportunities, and ensure continued health care access for indigent and uninsured populations. Only through affiliation with university training programs have county hospitals been able to run the cost-effective, quality programs that constitute an acceptable safety net for the poor. Financial stress, however, has led county hospitals and UC's GME programs to advocate for reform in both GME financing and indigent care funding. County hospitals must participate in constructing strategies for GME reform to assure that GME funding mechanisms provide for equitable compensation of county hospitals' essential role. Joint advocacy will also be essential in achieving significant indigent care policy reform.

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