Residency training might face cuts

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Residency training at Medical College of Georgia Hospital and Clinics is potentially facing another blow as the company that operates the clinical system is threatening to cut funding by more than $2 million, officials said Wednesday.

Graduate medical education, or training after medical school in various specialties, is a key component of ambitious plans in Georgia to increase overall the number of doctors trained in the state to avert a looming shortage. But a compromise funding proposal reached earlier this year between the University System of Georgia Board of Regents, MCG and MCG Health Inc., which operates the health system, is now "off the table," said Don Snell, CEO of MCG Health. In light of proposed 6 percent state budget cuts, MCG Health officials unveiled plans Wednesday to cut its support of graduate medical education by $2.1 million. MCG School of Medicine Dean D. Douglas Miller said that would come on top of a $6 million cut the school is facing based on the 6 percent state cut.

"This simply adds to that," Dr. Miller told the health system's administration at a meeting of its Executive Committee. "Passing these things back to the college creates issues."

Mr. Snell said the funding or potential cut is subject to revision and the health system is again open to a compromise.

"If that deal is put back on the table, then we'll listen," he said. He refused comment after the meeting.

Donald M. Leebern Jr., a member of the Regents and chairman of MCG Health's board, said the Regents will discuss their budget next month.

Dr. Miller said he is still optimistic that no residency positions will be cut. A summit next month involving all of Georgia's medical schools might also point to a statewide solution, he said.

"Is there an opportunity to look at other ways of supporting that cost ... and we'll explore what other institutions, other states, other regions have done," Dr. Miller said.

The $2 million cut in GME is an estimate and might change, officials said.

"It should be viewed as a working number," Dr. Miller said. "That's all it is right now. It's not reality."

Reach Tom Corwin at (706) 823-3213 or


The Medical College of Georgia will play host to a forum on Graduate Medical Education and increasing residency training. The Oct. 15-16 forum at the Atlanta Airport Marriott Hotel will include national experts and an address from Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue.

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soldout 09/25/08 - 03:33 am
Less doctors won't always

Less doctors won't always mean less health for the people. Our country has more health care and more spent than any country in the world but we are 42nd in length of life and 37th in infant mortality among the countries of the world. Do your research and you will find out quickly why this is the case.

areyoukidding 09/25/08 - 07:21 am
don snell has obviously

don snell has obviously forgotten the reason mcg health was established in the first place. to keep the hospital afloat to support the medical college. maybe his salary depends on showing huge profits

paulwheeler 09/25/08 - 07:34 am
All this business of

All this business of expanding (moving) to Athens, new foundations, shady land deals. MCG, it's subsidiaries, spin offs, real estate companies etc... Is it really about being a medical college or what?

UncleBill 09/25/08 - 07:40 am
Apparantly he has NOT

Apparantly he has NOT forgotten the mission. MCG Health was created and contracted to operate the hospital because the state was loosing a bundle on it, and could no longer fund it. Providing money for graduate medical education is secondary to the fiscal soundness of the hospital organization.

502.5 09/25/08 - 08:13 am
Whoopee. What breaking news.

Whoopee. What breaking news. Duh! Everyone knows that the state could face more cuts, Medicaid could face more cuts, and thus hospitals could face more cuts because of less reimbursements. That's business. That's today's economy. That's life. Healtcare for patients should come first anyway at the hospital.

augustalawyer 09/25/08 - 11:44 am
Instead of cutting the

Instead of cutting the positions of those doctors who actually do most of the work how about just placing a cap on the salaries of those doctors making over $750, 000? This should save almost 10 million or more.

WW1949 09/26/08 - 08:27 am
I did not know there were any

I did not know there were any doctors making that much working for the hospitals. I believe you are wrong in that amount. You may be right if you add in all the perks like free college at state schools, free insurance etc. Most doctors go to work for hospitals or contract to hospitals so they do not have to pay the high cost of an office, high cost for malpractice insurance and be subject to bs suits by people who think they can be put back together perfect after an accident or after a surgery that did not go well.

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