Residency training might face cuts

Residency training at Medical College of Georgia Hospital and Clinics is potentially facing another blow as the company that operates the clinical system is threatening to cut funding by more than $2 million, officials said Wednesday.

 

Graduate medical education, or training after medical school in various specialties, is a key component of ambitious plans in Georgia to increase overall the number of doctors trained in the state to avert a looming shortage. But a compromise funding proposal reached earlier this year between the University System of Georgia Board of Regents, MCG and MCG Health Inc., which operates the health system, is now "off the table," said Don Snell, CEO of MCG Health. In light of proposed 6 percent state budget cuts, MCG Health officials unveiled plans Wednesday to cut its support of graduate medical education by $2.1 million. MCG School of Medicine Dean D. Douglas Miller said that would come on top of a $6 million cut the school is facing based on the 6 percent state cut.

"This simply adds to that," Dr. Miller told the health system's administration at a meeting of its Executive Committee. "Passing these things back to the college creates issues."

Mr. Snell said the funding or potential cut is subject to revision and the health system is again open to a compromise.

"If that deal is put back on the table, then we'll listen," he said. He refused comment after the meeting.

Donald M. Leebern Jr., a member of the Regents and chairman of MCG Health's board, said the Regents will discuss their budget next month.

Dr. Miller said he is still optimistic that no residency positions will be cut. A summit next month involving all of Georgia's medical schools might also point to a statewide solution, he said.

"Is there an opportunity to look at other ways of supporting that cost ... and we'll explore what other institutions, other states, other regions have done," Dr. Miller said.

The $2 million cut in GME is an estimate and might change, officials said.

"It should be viewed as a working number," Dr. Miller said. "That's all it is right now. It's not reality."

Reach Tom Corwin at (706) 823-3213 or tom.corwin@augustachronicle.com.

FORUM ON EDUCATION

The Medical College of Georgia will play host to a forum on Graduate Medical Education and increasing residency training. The Oct. 15-16 forum at the Atlanta Airport Marriott Hotel will include national experts and an address from Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue.