Local hospitals the picture of health

University, MCG, Doctors all have reason to celebrate

The New Year is traditionally a time to take stock of one’s health. Gym memberships spike. The latest diet plans are all over your television screen. Resolutions are made and broken.


One internet article suggests five key measurements for your health: body mass index; “biological” age; waist measurement; blood pressure; and heart rate. Your doctor can chart many more.

But one test of a community’s health is of its health institutions. And by that measure, Augusta is exceedingly fit heading into 2018.

Besides the fact that urgent care facilities are popping up all over, Augusta’s Big Three medical centers – University Hospital, Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University and Doctors Hospital – are thriving, and have reasons for celebrating.

University Hospital this past week kicked off its amazing 200th anniversary. Its history dates back to the old City Hospital established in 1818 – just some 80 years after the founding of Augusta itself.

There are countries that aren’t that old. It’s an amazing accomplishment for a private, nonprofit medical center.

Not only that, but University last year bought Trinity Hospital, formerly St. Joseph Hospital, converting it into University Hospital Summerville – and preventing a vacant facility from popping up on Wrightsboro Road.

“Very few companies survive 200 years, much less thrive,” University CEO Jim Davis said at an overflow birthday party Thursday.

Over at the Medical College of Georgia, officials announced last week that its Medical College of Georgia Foundation has surpassed an astounding $250 million.

The endowment – which helps support education, research and patient care – has become the third-biggest university foundation in the state, behind only Georgia Tech Foundation and the University of Georgia Foundation. Nationally, the median such foundation is $120 million.

At Doctors Hospital, officials last July broke ground on a 14-month, $20 million Emergency Department Expansion project that will add 27,000 square feet, increase beds from 26 to 36 and double the number of pediatric beds.

And while most cities don’t have even one VA Hospital, we’ve got two -- not to mention Dwight D. Eisenhower Army Medical Center at Fort Gordon.

All this comes, as Doctors CEO Doug Welch notes, at a time when the region is growing like a weed, led by the cyber command at Fort Gordon and the cyber industry throughout the region.

All in all, a pretty good checkup.



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