The university is expected to sign an agreement this week with the Georgia Vocational Rehabilitation Agency to manage the long-term acute care and inpatient rehabilitation at the institute through the university’s health system.
“Our job is to help optimize and restructure (operations) and serve more citizens of Georgia,” said David S. Hefner, GRU’s executive vice president for clinical affairs.
The health system already provides health care for the Georgia Department of Corrections, mainly through Augusta State Medical Prison, and helps manage East Central Regional Hospital for the state Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities.
As part of its work, GRU will help the state assess what kind of upgrades the rehabilitation facilities might need, which still needs to be studied, Hefner said.
“But certainly there are facility upgrades, (information technology) upgrades, different aspects to the physical plant that you would suspect need to be made in an era where those investments had not been made for many years,” he said.
The institute is part of a facility once owned by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, and its waters were credited with helping ease the weakness in his legs from polio. The facility was later given to the state of Georgia to manage.
The new agreement also helps to enhance GRU’s statewide presence, Hefner said.
“It establishes us as a statewide entity, not just a CSRA presence but again drawing on our footprint across the state of Georgia serving the citizens of Georgia,” he said.