On behalf of our practicing physicians, I am writing in response to the Jan. 26 editorial regarding the Columbia County hospital project (“Proceed with care”).
Contrary to the article’s implication, Georgia Regents Health System does not employ the faculty physicians of Georgia Regents University. They are employed by the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia. GRU physicians routinely practice as members of the medical staff of every hospital in the area. More importantly, the Georgia Regents Medical Center’s proposal is for an open hospital staff, specifically to encourage any qualified physicians in the area, whether GRU faculty or community physicians, to practice in the new Columbia County facility.
The Augusta Chronicle’s editorial decries the “governmental” flavor which it tries to attribute to GRMC’s proposal. In reality, today’s health care is such that all of the entities making proposals depend to a significant extent upon governmental support.
The Chronicle suggests that the CON process could be unduly influenced by what it sees as a conflict of interest between two state agencies. The paper says that this conflict of interest arises from the “fact” that the proposal comes from an entity that is a “sister state agency” of the Department of Community Health. I would suggest there is no objective evidence to support this view.
Unlike the other proposals, GRMC seeks no financial contribution from Columbia County, and incorporates the unique partnership between GRMC and two huge world health care technology leaders, the benefits of which would flow directly to the citizens of Columbia County.
We believe the residents of the county and region will be best served by a focus on which proposal offers the highest value and greatest care to the citizens and taxpayers. We are confident that the Columbia County Health Care Facility Review Committee will render a fair and impartial evaluation of the pending proposals on their merits.
David D. Bogorad, M.D., F.A.C.S.
(The writer is chairman of the Georgia Regents Medical Associates Foundation.)