Northeast Georgia Medical Center (NGMC) is taking the next step in teaching future generations of doctors and increasing the likelihood that homegrown talent will stay close to home to care for local communities.
During today’s meeting of the Board of Directors of the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce, NGMC leaders announced plans to develop a graduate medical education (GME) program. After students graduate from medical school and become doctors, they traditionally participate in GME through a national matching program to complete their desired residency – which is essentially hands-on training in a specific medical specialty.
Medical students will be able to apply for the GME program at NGMC and choose one of six medical specialties for in-depth training: internal medicine, family medicine, general surgery, OB/GYN, psychiatry and emergency medicine.
“Northeast Georgia Medical Center’s vision for a new graduate medical education program is a significant step towards fulfilling my goal of 400 additional residency slots throughout Georgia,” said Gov. Nathan Deal. “I applaud the hospital’s leadership, board members, medical staff and others who have spent countless hours planning to make this program a reality. This program will benefit not only northeast Georgia, but the entire state.”
The Governor’s words of encouragement come with tangible support to establish a successful foundation for NGMC’s GME program. The hospital has been awarded $4.5 million in matching funds through the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia. These funds will help partially offset approximately $9 million in up-front investment in program facilities, leadership, faculty and other resources that must be established prior to any reimbursement through the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).
The program’s first medical residents are projected to arrive at NGMC in 2019, and NGMC anticipates as many as 170 residents across six different specialties by 2024 – which would make the program one of the largest in the state. Today’s announcement also cited research conducted by the Georgia Board of Physician Workforce, which found that medical students from Georgia who complete medical school and a GME program in Georgia have a roughly 80-percent chance of staying in the state to practice.
“Our goal is to go one step further and keep the best-of-the-best right here in our community,” says Carol Burrell, president and CEO of Northeast Georgia Health System, who is also a member of the Georgia Board of Physician Workforce. “Helping train the next generation of doctors is just another way we will achieve our mission of improving the health of our community in all we do.”
Burrell also shared three other medical benefits the GME program will provide:
- Infrastructure to support access and patient care to medically uninsured/underinsured populations
- Support for complex care capabilities of the hospital and medical staff – specifically in trauma, centers of clinical excellence and complex inpatient coverage
- Improving quality and outcomes through an increased focus on learning across the organization
Research conducted by the University of Georgia’s Carl Vinson Institute of Government found NGMC’s GME program will also provide a tremendous economic benefit to the Hall County economy – an economic output of $66 million from 2019 to 2023, with an additional $18 million local economic impact for each year after. Similarly, the program will generate more than 90 incremental community jobs in 2019, rising to as many as 300 jobs by 2023.
ABOUT NORTHEAST GEORGIA MEDICAL CENTER GAINESVILLE
Northeast Georgia Medical Center (NGMC) is rated Georgia’s #1 Hospital for the third consecutive year and among the top 10 in the nation by CareChex®, an independent healthcare quality rating service. NGMC Gainesville and Braselton share 657 beds and a medical staff of 600 physicians representing more than 50 specialties.
NGMC Gainesville is part of Northeast Georgia Health System (NGHS), a nonprofit that cares for more than 800,000 people in more than 13 counties, with a mission of improving the health of our community in all we do. Learn more at www.nghs.com.