Success Through Partnerships
November 5, 2010

Dear Colleagues and Friends:

“Better than good news” We began this week on a real high … On Monday, Dr. Azziz held a press conference to announce to the community that the MCG Foundation and GHSU Foundation have resolved their differences and will now be working collaboratively on behalf of our institution and our entire community. Many people including Dr. Azziz, Dr. William Mayer and Mr. Clay Boardman have been diligently working for several months to bring together the two foundations. The MCG Foundation will continue to support the SOM and the GHSU Foundation will support the other four schools and the hospital. This resolution is the beginning of a great, new, partnership. As Dr. Joseph Hobbs put it … ‘This is better than good news’.

Also this week, the Augusta Chamber of Commerce held a reception honoring our new President and his family. The Chamber also honored the CEO of University Hospital and his wife, Jim and Nancy Davis, who joined our community some months ago. The reception welcomed the Azziz’s to the area and gave congratulations to Mr. Davis on his appointment as CEO of University Hospital. It was a time to also recognize the new discussions being fostered between our institution and University Hospital. University Hospital is a great community leader and will be an invaluable partner as we move forward in our vision. Drs. Kanto, Hobbs, Azziz and I have been working with Mr. Jim Davis and with Drs. Bill Farr and Randy Smith on potential opportunities for the future. These discussions are at an early stage. Nevertheless, we are grateful for the opportunity to dialogue and we very much appreciate University Hospital’s contribution to our community.

The Sydenstricker Society is a medical society that fosters partnerships in our community among our medical leaders. It was founded in 1971. The Society’s charter is to create collegiality among former and present members of the Department of Medicine, foster collaboration with the community, and provide educational opportunities for all. Being a member of the society is great honor that is well-deserved. Congratulations go to the following individuals for their recent induction into The Sydenstricker Society for 2010: Dr. Ronald N. Cook, Dr. James R. Gossage, Dr. Douglas Farman, Dr. Pamela J. Fall, Dr. Paul Dainer, Dr. Lois Ellison, Dr. Maximillian Stachura, and Dr. Michael P. Madaio.

Increasingly we appreciate that quality in healthcare comes from a team of professionals partnering together, rather than the individual excellence of any one person (tho’ it is evident that individual excellence sure helps too!) J We would like to say a big thank you to everyone working together on improving the quality and safety in the care of our patients. Not only do we score ourselves on core measures, but we are also scored by several different organizations nationally. We should also be very proud that in CY 2010 we received the highest score ever in the University Health System Consortium (UHC) CMS-24 “core measure perfection score”. In our self-monitoring and feedback program, the staff’s performance was 100% on several different core measures – a first. The Joint Commission recently sent a letter congratulating us on several improvements we have made in assessment and consistency and have invited us to share our experiences to a national extranet audience. We are gratified by this recognition. Our medical center is now ranked among the top third in academic centers nationally along with the pediatric services ranking in the top decile. All of this is evidence of progress and collective effort among our residents, nurses, technicians, faculty, and all our clinicians. Thank you and congratulations to everyone for your hard work and dedication in improving the quality and care of our patients.

It is important to appreciate that our efforts to enhance quality are part of a bigger picture, nationally. Recently the Department of Health and Human Services also posted the National Health Care Quality Strategy and Plan. There is growing support for this national strategy, with an emphasis among the academic community for continuous quality improvement, education and the commitment to quality and value throughout a practitioner’s career. There is also a real opportunity nationally to blend quality and education with high-impact research through comparative effectiveness research (CER) and to advance the role of science to ensure innovations and process improvements. It is also important that we align our quality measures of measures across public and private institutions. This provided a ‘level playing field’ to give consumers the ability to evaluate their choices in a comparable way.

To support clinical research growth through our enhanced partnership in a newly created integrated health system, we were delighted to learn that MCG HI is currently offering an 84% discount on all labs performed for research. We are grateful to the Office of Clinical Investigative Services for their support of our clinical research.

We have just received the formal notice of a real opportunity to advance our partnerships in residency training. The CMS Final Rule document describes application process for expansion of residency programs with an application deadline of January 2011. Competitive programs will need to meet specific federal stipulations and they will also need to receive approval by the RRC and ACGME. Dr. Walter Moore will be leading this evaluation of opportunities for expansion of residencies here. Walt will be working closely with Departmental Chairs and Residency Training Directors … more on this exciting opportunity later.

Our MCG-UGA Partnership continues to progress well. Students at Athens have just finished their second module of their integrated curriculum. The administrative efforts to advance the new location at the Naval building are proceeding well. We also recently visited the Tanner Healthcare system in Carrollton. They have both interest and excellent resources in support of medical training expansion. Next week, we are visiting Rome where we are also making progress on medical training expansion. Cultivating and supporting these partnerships are key to our mission and our commitment to the people of Georgia.

We are counting down to the Enterprise-wide celebration at Fort Discovery. One week left before the great event. Please make sure you have your ticket to mouth-watering food, superb entertainment, and a wonderful program your whole family will enjoy. Please make sure it is on your calendar – November 12 from 5:30-8:00 pm at Fort Discovery.

Many thanks for your partnership with our institution and with our community.