Beyond Trauma: High-Volume Critical Care Medicine in a Military Medical Center-Based Military-Civilian Partnership

Jeremy P. Kilburn, Stephanie M. Streit, W. Patrick Luan, Jamie Lindly, Angelica Honsberg, Buddhadeb Dawn, Ryan G.K. Mihata, Jonas J. Carmichael, Renee I. Matos, Terence P. Lonergan, Robert J. Walter, Bryan D. Szalwinksi, Sean N. Dooley, Edward T. McCann, James B. Sampson, Steven P. Praske, Jennifer M. Gurney, Cristin A. Mount

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: Critical Care Internal Medicine (CCIM) is vital to the U.S. Military as evidenced by the role CCIM played in the COVID-19 pandemic response and wartime operations. Although the proficiency needs of military surgeons have been well studied, this has not been the case for CCIM. The objective of this study was to compare the patient volume and acuity of military CCIM physicians working solely at Military Treatment Facilities (MTFs) with those at MTFs also working part-time in a military-civilian partnership (MCP) at the University Medical Center of Southern Nevada (UMC). Materials and Methods: We analyzed FY2019 critical care coding data from the Military Health System and UMC comparing the number of critical care encounters, the number of high-acuity critical care encounters, and the Abilities/Activity component of the Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities/Clinical Activity (KSA) score. This analysis was restricted to critical care encounters defined by Current Procedural Terminology codes for critical care (99291 and 99292). A critical care encounter was considered high acuity if the patient had ICD-10 codes for shock, respiratory failure, or cardiac arrest or had at least three codes for critical care in the same episode. Results: The five AF CCIM physicians in the MCP group performed 2,019 critical care encounters in 206 days, with 63.1% (1,273) being defined as high acuity. The total number of MTF critical care encounters was 16,855 across all providers and services, with 28.9% (4,864) of encounters defined as high acuity. When limited to CCIM encounters, MTFs had 6,785 critical care encounters, with 32.0% being high acuity (2,171). Thus, the five AF CCIM physicians, while working 206 days at the UMC, equated to 12.0% (2,019/16,855) of the total critical care MTF encounters, 27.2% (1,273/4,684) of the total high-acuity MTF critical care encounters, and 29.8% (2,019/6,785) of the MTF CCIM encounters, with 58.6% (1,273/2,171) of the MTF CCIM high-acuity encounters. The USAF CCIM physicians in the MCP group performed 454,395 KSAs in 206 days, with a KSA density per day of 2,206. In the MTF group, CCIM providers generated 2,344,791 total KSAs over 10,287 days, with a KSA density per day of 227.9. Thus, the five CCIM physicians at the UMC accounted for 19.38% of the MTF CCIM KSAs, with a KSA density over 10 times higher (2,206 vs. 227.9). Conclusions: The volume and acuity of critical care at MTFs may be insufficient to maintain CCIM proficiency under the current system. Military-civilian partnerships are invaluable in maintaining clinical proficiency for military CCIM physicians and can be done on a part-time basis while maintaining beneficiary care at an MTF. Future CCIM expeditionary success is contingent on CCIM physicians and team members having the required CCIM exposure to grow and maintain clinical proficiency. Limitations of this study include the absence of off-duty employment (moonlighting) data and difficulty filtering military data down to just CCIM physicians, which likely caused the MTF CCIM data to be overestimated.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e1129-e1135
JournalMilitary Medicine
Issue number5-6
StatePublished - 1 May 2024
Externally publishedYes


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