It took a decade, but Dr. Julius Scott finally got what he wanted all along, even if it meant the end for him.
"Unity," said Scott, a member of the board of MCG Health Inc. since it took over the operation of Medical College of Georgia Hospital and Clinics in 2000. In historic moves Wednesday, the company voted to rework its board from 15 members to nine members, not including Scott, and approved the creation of a new overarching governing board, MCG Health System Inc., to which the old board will report. MCG Health System and MCG Health Inc. will both be chaired by the incoming president of the Medical College of Georgia, Dr. Ricardo Azziz. He will also be CEO of MCG Health System, and the CEO of MCG Health Inc. will report to him.
Quoting University System of Georgia regent Donald Leebern Jr., "We're going from a two- or three-boss system to a one-boss system," said regent Felton Jenkins, who chaired the ad hoc committee to create the new governing structure. Physicians Practice Group, which represents the school's faculty and handles things like billing, will also report to the new board and Azziz will become a voting member of its board. Both MCG Health Inc. and PPG will retain all of their assets and outstanding bonds. The changes will take effect July 1, when Azziz assumes office.
"Now we see before us what we hoped would be achieved," Scott said. Previously there had been operating agreements between the school, MCG Health Inc. and PPG but there were often protracted battles over who would pay for what, sometimes dragging on for months.
"Some of it was really personal, between Dan and Don," Scott said, referring to former MCG President Daniel W. Rahn and former MCG Health CEO Don Snell, who both left last year. "But I was hoping for a unified vision and thrust so that we wouldn't keep arguing about the margins here and the losses there."
That will likely be avoided under MCG Health System, which held its first organizational meeting Wednesday immediately after the MCG Health Inc. meeting ended.
Some of the board members to be appointed by Azziz have yet to be named but he said he had spoken to businesspeople Walter Dukes of Georgia Power and Nadia Butler of Emergency Services Integrators (ESi).
"This is a momentous time for MCG," Azziz said. "You have now set the foundation for us to move forward. The devil will be in the details. I promise you we will work very hard to make sure that the promise of this structure is realized."
Exactly how that will happen is not perfectly clear but there will likely continue to be integrated management team meeting with leaders of all three entities, as has been the case the last several months, to talk about strategic planning and common issues, said Sandra McVicker, interim CEO of MCG Health Inc.
"But otherwise, day-to-day operations is still taking care of our patients and their families," she said.