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Derek C Angus

UPMC Media Relations

Derek Angus, M.D., To Participate In National Task Force To Address Inequities In Allocating Medical Care For Critically Ill Patients

PITTSBURGH, August 6, 2003 A team of critical care medicine and bioethics experts has launched an 18-month initiative to address the increasingly disparate practice of medical rationing in U.S. Intensive Care Units (ICUs), a phenomenon that compromises the quality of care and clinical outcomes of the nation's most vulnerable patients. Known as the Values, Ethics & Rationing In Critical Care (VERICC) Task Force, the group is a first-of-its-kind research and education initiative dedicated to examining critical care rationing practices and how best to allocate potentially life-saving therapies and services.

The membership of the VERICC Task Force comprises some of North America's most renowned experts in the areas of bioethics, critical care and evidence-based medicine, technology assessment and health care administration. These thought leaders represent a variety of prestigious institutions, including Harvard Medical School, The Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, the National Institutes of Health, the People's Medical Society, the University of California San Francisco, the University of Pittsburgh and Brown Medical School/Rhode Island Hospital, which is the sponsor of the VERICC Task Force.

Representing the University of Pittsburgh on this task force is Derek Angus, M.D., associate professor of critical care medicine, medicine and health policy and management. As a clinician, educator and researcher, Dr. Angus is widely regarded as an innovator in the practice of intensive care medicine. He has published more than 300 journal articles, abstracts and book chapters, focusing on the epidemiology, cost, cost-effectiveness and outcomes of intensive care and critical illness. Over the past two decades, Dr. Angus has worked to improve physician awareness of critical illnesses and promote a greater understanding of treatment advances through his service on a variety of international expert panels, consensus conferences and advisory boards.

The VERICC Task Force plans to develop and implement a nationally relevant resource allocation model, accessible by ICUs throughout the United States, which will assist clinicians and administrators to make the most of increasingly scarce fiscal means.

The 20-member VERICC Task Force will rigorously examine the factors financial as well as psychological that contribute to current rationing practices. Using the resulting data, the VERICC Task Force plans to develop practical models designed to help clinicians make treatment decisions that distribute limited health care resources equitably and appropriately to achieve optimal patient outcomes.

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