Original Research

Characteristics of intensive care units in Michigan: Not an open and closed case




Delivery of critical care by intensivists has been recommended by several groups. Our objective was to understand the delivery of critical care physician services in Michigan and the role of intensivists and nonintensivist providers in providing care.


Descriptive questionnaire.


Intensive care unit (ICU) directors and nurse managers at 96 sites, representing 115 ICUs from 72 hospitals in Michigan.


The primary outcome measure was the percentage of sites utilizing a closed vs. an open model of ICU care. Secondary outcome measures included the percentage of ICUs utilizing a high‐intensity service model, hospital size, ICU size, type of clinician providing care, and clinical activities performed. Twenty‐four (25%) sites used a closed model of intensive care, while 72 (75%) had an open model of care. Hospitals with closed ICUs were larger and had larger ICUs than sites with open ICUs (P < 0.05). Hospitalists serving as attending physicians were strongly associated with an open ICU (odds ratio [OR] = 12.2; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 2.5‐60.2), as was the absence of intensivists in the group (OR = 12.2; 95%CI = 1.4‐105.8), while ICU and hospital size were not associated. At 18 sites (20%) all attendings were board certified in Critical Care. Sixty sites had less than 50% board‐certified attending physicians.


The closed intensivist‐led model of intensive care delivery is not in widespread use in Michigan. In the absence of intensivists, alternate models of care, including the hospitalist model, are frequently used. Journal of Hospital Medicine 2010;5:4–9. © 2010 Society of Hospital Medicine.