Merger deal has problems

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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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GeezeLouise
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GeezeLouise 01/29/12 - 02:39 am
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I agree with this letter
Unpublished

I agree with this letter 100%. Well stated

agustinian
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agustinian 01/29/12 - 08:13 am
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Dr. Nesbit, I think you

Dr. Nesbit,
I think you nailed it. I think the theory is, just keep repeating the words, "consolidation saves money", and pretty soon, people will nod their heads, and voila, the chorus sings "consolidation saves money." The savings are ephemeral, and the real goal of the UGA crowd is just as you stated.

Riverman1
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Riverman1 01/29/12 - 09:22 am
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First off, there's no

First off, there's no question that the med school in Athens will be independent before long. That's why I and others fought so hard against it. They will compete for funding dollars. However, GHSU will be the premier school for the life of anyone old enough to read this article. The infrastructure, the reputation and the faculty are here. Note in SC, their upstart second med school at USC never amounted to much. MUSC remains their mega school.

Most of us realize this union is great for ASU and will increase the quality and quantity of their applicants. The only argument against it is what will happen to the lesser academically qualified students in the area. That kind of response is unthinking. Should we dumb down schools to allow everyone to go to college? The better the academic reputation of a school the better the school is. ASU has progressed through the years from a junior college and this is the next step up.

But what about the advantages to GHSU? They will gain affiliation with an undergraduate program and graduate studies that can help with their research interests. Nursing programs ran from ASU can free up space at GHSU. If a student wants to take an excellent pre-med program, what better place than one designed by a med school?

seenitB4
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seenitB4 01/29/12 - 09:30 am
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Piperpig
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Piperpig 01/29/12 - 05:20 pm
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Excellent post Riverman.

Excellent post Riverman.

socks99
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socks99 01/29/12 - 10:44 pm
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Some would argue, credibly I

Some would argue, credibly I believe, that recent decisions by the Regents have been made on a politicized, provincial, "beggar-thy-neighbor" basis. While these gentlemen and gentlewomen have long been quick to criticize any political interference in GA's higher education system, we now see evidence they've invited, on-board, the capricious personal views they said they opposed.

Let's hope for the best. But also know that academic decisions by the Regents are very rarely challenged. What happens, then, is that state resources are used less effectively; as a result, ALL Georgians are poorer, and public confidence in GA's system of higher education declines.

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