Sequestration will take a grave toll

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A Medical College of Georgia headline showing up across the world in recent weeks describes a new biomarker discovered here that can be an early red flag for hospitalized children and adults that their kidneys are injured and in trouble.

This key early sign could help avoid the chronic damage and even kidney failure that occurs in 10 to 15 percent of these patients.

Headlines March 16 were about a much happier chronic event: Match Day, when medical students at MCG and across the country found out where they will be doing their residencies, the three to seven years that follow medical school where they hone their knowledge and skill in family medicine, obstetrics and gynecology, neurosurgery or some other chosen specialty.

This summer, about 150 new residents will start this essential learning process at MCG and Georgia Regents Health System, joining about 300 other residents already training here to become the kind of doctors we want for ourselves and our loved ones when we need them.

THIS IS THE KIND of news we all want to read about the state of Georgia’s only public medical school, which calls Augusta home. We want to know that our medical school has what it needs to educate the next generation of physicians and scientists for our state and nation, and to contribute to a better understanding of the body and mind that optimizes disease prevention and treatment.

However, the headlines and realities of the nation’s budget crisis and the sequestration strategy give us all pause to consider much gloomier reports.

The biomarker study mentioned earlier was funded by the National Institutes of Health, which faces a $1.6 billion budget cut in the current fiscal year because of sequestration. Moreover, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the single largest funder of resident training, or graduate medical education, in our country, anticipates a 2 percent cut in Medicare alone. This could result in fewer resident trainees.

It also appears that physician and hospital reimbursement may take the most direct hits from this reduction. In fact, our own health system will sustain a $2.4 million hit to its budget in 2014 from this single action.

HOWEVER IT SHAKES out, any and all these actions obviously have a negative impact on physician education, scientific discovery and, ultimately, patient care.

Your medical school certainly is not alone in concerns about sequestration’s impact on its present and future. We know, for example, that for many of you who are our colleagues in important federal endeavors such as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Savannah River Site, sequestration already is very real and painful.

We also believe that together, we can help our country find better solutions. Please join us in having frank conversations with the nation’s leadership, with our elected representatives, about our concerns for the impact sequestration is having and will have on the physical and economic well-being of our community, our state and our nation.

We appreciate your support in this and all endeavors for your public medical school.

(The writer is dean of the Medical College of Georgia, Georgia Regents University.)

Comments (18) Add comment
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ymnbde
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ymnbde 03/24/13 - 07:48 am
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what hog wash and lipstick

it isn't difficult to resist the urge to compare the relative priorities of the fat lesbian study versus the kidney biomarkers. Perhaps this writer has another column pleading with the federal government to spend our tax money a bit more wisely.
However, it is a common and transparent big government bureaucracy tactic to threaten cutting something useful, while hiding all the waste and fraud.
Mr. Buckley, it's a different world. Learn to do with less.
Oh, and another tactic is to give the large number cut, without giving its full budget proportions.
Gig's up. We're on to you...

deestafford
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deestafford 03/24/13 - 09:41 am
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I recommend the writter have a meeting with all the medical

personnel, including students, and explain to them what is coming is a result of them voting for the current occupant of the White House. I would bet that over 50% of the students and doctors at GRU voted for Obama and his leftist ways.
The federal government is too involved in funding medical research and much of what they are spending is wasted in order to justify getting more next year. It is time the country prioritizes its funding. Opps! Excuse me for that momentary slipping from reality and common sense.

RMSHEFF
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RMSHEFF 03/24/13 - 10:21 am
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Sequestration is nothing when

Sequestration is nothing when compared to the damage being done by Obamacare. The best healthcare system in the world is destine to be second rate. The medical field was once a good area to build a career however this is changing rapidly. We need to get use to long waits, poor service at a much higher cost and lower pay for providers.....just like Europe.

itsanotherday1
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itsanotherday1 03/24/13 - 10:45 am
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Dittos to the 3 posts above.

Dittos to the 3 posts above. Dr. Buckley; the current administration is making the sequester as painful as they possibly can in a political effort to discredit the opposition. It is 2.4% for heaven's sake! And not even a CUT at that, but rather a reduction in growth.

If ANYONE (except fat lesbians and duck penises) feel any pain from the cuts, BLAME OBAMA. He had the opportunity to make directed cuts to specific wasteful programs but refused.

dichotomy
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dichotomy 03/24/13 - 11:54 am
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Dr. Buckley.....ANY mid-level

Dr. Buckley.....ANY mid-level manager can figure out how to absorb a 2.4% cut to ANY program, office, or work center. 2.4% is a belt tightening, not a beheading. If any research program is cut out totally because of a 2.4% cut then you should blame the idiot superior up your chain of command who made an arbitrary decision to give the appearance that the sky is falling. From what I have seen of the salaries of the administrator types at Georgia Regents, particularly Azziz, I'd say that most of them would not even notice a 2.4% cut in their salary......of course, that ain't gonna happen is it? So is this about protecting research or protecting something else?

allhans
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allhans 03/24/13 - 12:22 pm
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It might be that those in

It might be that those in charge should do as the sequester does, cut the proposed spending budget. Void any recent pay increases making them retroactive...Cut the spending. The workers in this country (with the exception of publ;ic workers) are working as fast as they can..puff puff...cant' last much longer....

AHIII

Little Lamb
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Little Lamb 03/24/13 - 12:24 pm
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Fear Mongering

Dr. Buckley is following the instructions of his mentor Barak Obama – scare the public about the draconian sequester. Buckley says that sequester cuts to National Institutes of Health will amount to $1.6 billion. Well, the cuts are 2.4% of the projected budget. Thus a little quick math then puts the budget at $66.7 billion. I think there's at least $1.6 billion of junk research going on. Cutting out that junk research would be a societal benefit.

Darby
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Darby 03/24/13 - 01:12 pm
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"the National Institutes of Health,...

which faces a $1.6 billion budget cut in the current fiscal year because of sequestration"
.

Don't believe a word of it. There's no way that's a true assessment. Dr. Buckley's approach is nothing more than an echo of what the mendacious Obama is spouting every day.

Under sequestration, Buckley's pet projects will STILL GET AN INCREASE. Just a couple of percentage points less of an increase than what he was expecting.

Medical research can and does do wonderful things, but at some point we must accept reality. We've got to start living within our means if we are to survive.

All need to accept the increase in spending and stop treating it as a cut. Face facts!

That's what every family in America has to do every single day, like it or not.

ultrarnr
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ultrarnr 03/24/13 - 03:23 pm
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Best healthcare in the world?
Unpublished

That is one of the most ridiculous statements I have ever heard in my life. Maybe the poster should look at the numbers like 27th in infant mortality

Truth Matters
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Truth Matters 03/24/13 - 03:48 pm
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Cuts

Dr. Buckley,
Meet a sample of the vocal Augusta electorate. They don't think research dollars are important but have no problem with one party bringing a vote more than 30 times to over turn a law the US Supreme Court upheld. Now who is wasting tax payers' dollars?

Run your letter in other papers where people are more open-minded and do not see a "monster" around every corner. Their disdain for a president they did not vote for has rendered many, I fear, incapable of objective thought.

I am not on any medication for any chronic conditions but I do recognize the value of medical research. Thank you for your contributions to medical health care.

dichotomy
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dichotomy 03/24/13 - 05:27 pm
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"Their disdain for a

"Their disdain for a president they did not vote for has rendered many, I fear, incapable of objective thought."

Our disdain is for spending $1.40 for every $1.00 we take in and for having a debt that exceeds our Gross Domestic Product. Our disdain is for people like you who snipe snide remarks about people whose only desire is to reduce spending to a manageable level while you NEVER offer a solution to the spending .As for YOUR president.....he had the opportunity to negotiate where the spending cuts would come from but chose to be an ideologue and let sequestration take effect while beating his drum for more taxes. So blame any cuts to anything you support on YOUR president.

bubbasauce
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bubbasauce 03/24/13 - 06:18 pm
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Great comments from everyone

Great comments from everyone ! Now let's get down to business and start cutting entitlements of every kind, especially the old SNAP program. Millions are abusing this program. Just pay attention to all the very nice new cars riding around during the middle of the day on any given day.
Let the sequestration begin! I will survive.

Darby
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Darby 03/24/13 - 08:50 pm
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"Let the sequestration begin!...

I will survive."

.
Great point BubbaSauce. The only ones who may not make it are those who have been spoon fed (along with their entire families) for generations.

Self starters always find a way to land on their feet. They are also the ones most likely to lend a hand to others not so blessed, and without needing government intervention to do it.

Truth Matters
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Truth Matters 03/24/13 - 10:17 pm
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Dichotomy ....

@ 5:27 "people like you who snipe snide remarks...."
But you wrote re Dr. Buckley, "blame the idiot superior up your chain of command.."
I guess that well qualifies you to know what sniping snide remarks look like.

prov227
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prov227 03/25/13 - 11:44 am
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Blather ...

from the medical complex trying to draw in the military-industrial complex as an ally. ("We know, for example, that for many of you who are our colleagues in important federal endeavors such as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Savannah River Site, sequestration already is very real and painful"). All on the government dole. Sequestration isn't enough medicine for the bloated federal government and its leeches. As many understand now, sequestration is only a decrease in the planned increase in federal spending. We need much more in cuts. Is this the conversation you are looking for with our elected representatives, Dean Buckley?

KSL
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KSL 03/25/13 - 11:51 pm
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Obama daughters

On a taxpayer funded spring break in the Bahamas. How many knew that? The White House has been mum on that given the outcry last year about the cost of one taking chums to Mexico.

KSL
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KSL 03/25/13 - 11:53 pm
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Disgusting

Wonder how many families had planned to visit DC when children were on spring break and tour the White House.

KSL
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KSL 03/26/13 - 12:04 am
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Obamacare itself will do way

Obamacare itself will do way more harm to patient care.

KSL
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KSL 03/26/13 - 12:09 am
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Numbers of people, please

How many is 15%?

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