Merger deal has problems

I have not seen this in the reporting of the town hall meetings at Georgia Health Sciences University: In response to a question, President Ricardo Azziz indicated that he had not been in on the early discussions of the merger and, indeed, he specifically said: “Part of being a good general is being a good soldier,” and that “we have our marching orders.”

It is difficult to see how merging with Augusta State University fulfills Dr. Azziz’s vision of GHSU becoming a nationally recognized premier health sciences university – one of the main considerations in the Medical College of Georgia-to-GHSU name change. My guess is that he was not enthusiastic about the merger, and I will not be surprised if he moves on in the near future.

What also has been missing from the discussion is the near certainty that the branch of MCG that we have been working to create at Athens will, before many years, become a separate medical school. It will be the University of Georgia School of Medicine, and MCG will be a unit of the yet-to-be-named school in Augusta. It is noteworthy that Chancellor Hank Huckaby, who worked for President Michael Adams at UGA for many years, clearly is helping to accomplish his former boss’ goal of having a UGA medical school – and better yet hiding MCG as a branch of a smaller school in Augusta.

This was planned secretly and sold to the University System Board of Regents as a money-saving measure – apparently without any study to show that savings would be accomplished, and yet with the story in Augusta being that the schools will grow, not contract.

Robert R. Nesbit Jr., M.D., FACS

Augusta

 

(The writer is a professor emeritus of surgery at Georgia Health Sciences University.)

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