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September 3, 1998


Support voiced for creation of central clinical practice plan

To the editor:

I am writing to express my views on the creation of a central clinical practice plan, University of Pittsburgh Physicians (UPP). There has been a lot of discussion on this campus on this subject, some of which portrays a negative view on certain aspects. The reality is that academic medicine like community medicine is under extreme pressure. Our practice plans have always had a strong affiliation with the University as well as UPMC and other hospitals, most notably Children's and Magee. In my department through our affiliation with UPMC and their financial support we have been able to develop world class academic and clinical programs. Our department's research efforts, led by Drs. Savio Woo and Chris Evans in the areas of biomedical engineering and gene therapy, were only possible through the support of UPMC. Similarly our department's support of the University athletic department and athletic trainer programs relies heavily on the support of UPMC. Medicine has become a big business and UPP and UPMC bring management talent that assists departments like mine in properly managing our business. They have heightened our awareness of key issues, areas to which previously we did not devote the required level of attention. The goals of UPP and of UPMC are complementary with those of the department, not in contradiction. Our department has found the UPP administration to be physician-driven and very receptive to working with our faculty on various issues. A few years ago I was offered the position of chair of the oldest orthopaedic department in the country at the oldest medical school and did not accept solely because I believe that UPMC is committed to our clinical and academic success. I have discussed the issues surrounding the creation of UPP with my department faculty on numerous occasions and I have only heard support for what is occurring. I believe we are heading in the right direction and that the creation of UPP with a closer affiliation to UPMC is necessary for our academic success in the future. We need to move ahead with these plans. It is not the plan, it is the delay in implementation that could ultimately prove to be our downfall. I hope that the University community realizes the importance of this endeavor to enhance relationships that have succeeded so well in the past.

Freddie H. Fu

David Silver Professor &

Chairman Department of Orthopaedic Surgery

School of Medicine

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