I have spent my entire 71 years in Augusta – as a son, student (Augusta College), Vietnam-bound soldier, husband, father, grandfather and taxpayer. I love this place.
These past two years I have had the privilege of serving on one of the Georgia Health Sciences University boards, and have a new appreciation of the powerful advantages this new, consolidated entity will enjoy.
One of my board responsibilities is to chair the Audit and Compliance Committee. In January, I attended a national seminar about audit and compliance procedures and received a wake-up call from keynote speakers from the GBI and the FBI.
State and federal governments have doubled or tripled their Medicaid/Medicare enforcement efforts, with more rules and regulations to come.
How do health-care providers protect themselves from fines and penalties? They hire auditors, compliance personnel, IT staff, etc. Where will these employees receive training? Georgia Regents University.
Plus, who knows better than a hospital which future skills will be needed in health care? I envision GRU adding new health-care programs perhaps unavailable anywhere else in the country. How cool is that?
An incredible economic engine will be created from this consolidated university. More programs, more students, more faculty, more support staff, more buildings, more maintenance services, more payroll, and on and on. Think jobs.
GHSU President Ricardo Azziz and his team have begun to attract enormous financial support to Augusta from the governor, the Board of Regents, alumni, the Woodruff Foundation and even local philanthropists. They all believe GRU will become one of the nation’s top 50, globally recognized research universities and academic health centers. They believe Augusta can become a medical destination for the nation. Health care is the growth industry, and state leaders want the citizens of Georgia to benefit. So do I!
Honestly, the new name doesn’t thrill me, but I’ll get used to it. As one writer said, what is important is not what is attached to the outside of the walls, but what is within. Luckily for Augusta, we’ve got the very best! Go Jags!