Friday, January 23, 2015

GRU-Augusta Seeking Partnership with University Hospital

ATLANTA, GA (PR) - We have said we must constantly assess ourselves to ensure we have a 21st century structure that provides the most effective system of institutions. Our commitment to always look for ways to improve our University System includes Georgia Regents Health System.

Board of Regents Chair Neil Pruitt and Regent and immediate past Chair Philip Wilheit have contacted University Hospital in Augusta to explore strategic opportunities to potentially create a partnership to expand health services and better serve Georgians.

As an exploratory discussion is under way, additional information will be provided as appropriate.

University Health Care System signs agreement to manage Washington County Hospital

SANDERSVILLE – The Hospital Authority of Washington County signed an agreement December 2014 with University Health Care System for management of the Sandersville hospital.

The agreement went into effect Jan. 1, 2015 for a term of five years, according to Jimmy Childre Jr., CEO of Washington County Regional Medical Center.

“We are extremely excited to partner with University Health Care System and gain experience and insight from their management team so we can continue to provide high-quality health care to the citizens of Washington and surrounding counties,” Mr. Childre said. “Our employees, medical staff, county commissioners and other key community stakeholders are very supportive and looking forward to this relationship.”

Mr. Childre said the Authority began the process of requesting proposals early this year. Five organizations came forward this fall, one being University.

"University was the partner we desired from the start, and we were very pleased when their proposal emerged as clearly the most attractive long-term opportunity for our hospital and community,” Mr. Childre said.

The Sandersville hospital is one of the largest employers in the county. Its 300 staff members will remain employees of Washington County Regional Medical Center.

“We are pleased that Washington County Regional Medical Center retains our employees, ownership and governance, while having the advantage of being managed by one of the best hospitals in the state of Georgia,” Mr. Childre said. James R. Davis, president and CEO of University Health Care System, said University is happy to offer its expertise.

“All hospitals continue to struggle with declining reimbursement, but smaller hospitals in more rural areas have been hit extremely hard and may not be equipped to navigate these rough waters,” Mr. Davis said.

“It is extremely important to University that communities have access to high-quality care close to home,” Mr. Davis continued. “We can help by leveraging our scale with supplies, assisting with the business operations and working to better integrate the clinical staff. These things and more will help strengthen this hospital so it can continue to serve the community.”

Charles Lee, executive director of the Development Authority of Washington County and president of the Washington County Chamber of Commerce, said the county should view today’s signing as a “new day for our community.”

“As an economic developer,” Mr. Lee explained, “the provision of good healthcare is of paramount importance in making any community desirable for new business and industry. The presence of University’s professionalism and excellence in healthcare delivery here will aid us greatly in that arena. The benefits to our current citizens will be monumental as well, giving us ready access to all aspects of what University has to offer.”

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