As past president of both the Medical College of Georgia Foundation and the Alumni Association of the School of Medicine of the Medical College of Georgia, I endorse your recent editorial concerning the need for a strong, energetic University Systems regent to replace the late Tom Allgood Sr.
The replacement will, indeed, have big shoes to fill, but the importance of that position to the future of the medical college is difficult to overestimate. The choice is important not only for the quality of the education of the graduates of the Medical College of Georgia, this state's only public health sciences university, but also for the economic well-being of the Central Savannah River Area.
The regent will have to understand the financial problems affecting health care and medical education all over the country. Like all academic medical centers, MCG has its unique challenges, but its major problems are common to most health care centers and are caused by lower reimbursements from Medicare, Medicaid and managed care payers, and by increasing numbers of non-insured or indigent patients.
The new appointee should be a person who has had some experience with present-day problems in health care and medical education. There are both physicians and laymen in Augusta who fit that description. However, in this critical time, what is not needed is a neophyte in the field of health care.
This person will also have to work with the chancellor, the other members of the Board of Regents, the legislature and the governor to see that these problems at MCG are kept on the front burner in both the chancellor's office and under the Gold Dome. Without such attention and support, the yet-to-be-chosen new president of MCG will have little chance of success.
This regent will also need the support of area business and political leaders who realize that the economic well-being of the Augusta health care industry, in general, and MCG, in particular, is vital to the Central Savannah River Area because of the number of jobs presently involved and because of the potential for growth and spinoff entities ...
As the editorial correctly stated, the next regent from Augusta must have knowledge, experience, time, energy and the ability to work well with others. It is difficult to overstate the importance of this choice for all residents of the state and the future economic well-being of the Central Savannah River Area.
Dr. Dan Hanks Jr.
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