CONGRESSMAN BISHOP VISITS MEDICAL COLLEGE OF GEORGIA ALBANY CAMPUS, DISCUSSES PROGRAMS TO IMPROVE RURAL HEALTHCARE
Sep 1, 2021
ALBANY, GA – On Monday, Congressman Sanford D. Bishop, Jr. (GA-02) visited the Albany campus of Augusta University’s Medical College of Georgia (MCG). The MCG is Georgia’s only public medical school, and the Albany campus is part of its mission to increase healthcare providers and expand healthcare access to rural, underserved areas. Congressman Bishop has worked to increase federal support for greater medical student and residency training that benefits underserved areas as well as projects, such as the mobile clinics operated by Phoebe Putney Health Systems, through which they train.
As part of the visit, MCG highlighted three new telehealth programs being implemented on campus that address tele-emergency care, tele-ultrasound diagnostics, and tele-dermatology which provide quicker, more convenient, and less expensive diagnoses for patients that are not near a major hospital center. They also discussed the Southeastern Virtual Cyber Institute consortium, a cybersecurity initiative Congressman Bishop supported and in which Augusta University is a partner. Faculty also presented the university’s “3+” medical scholarship program to address Georgia’s shortage of physicians in rural and underserved areas.
“MCG is providing a model of how states can address the drastic shortage of physicians and access to healthcare rural America faces. These challenges have contributed to poor health outcomes in rural communities and undermined our response to the ongoing pandemic,” said Congressman Bishop. “As the Chair of the House Appropriations subcommittee that addresses rural development, I have worked to secure robust funding for programs that address this two-fold problem. The Medical College of Georgia is using these federal funds to train medical students and help physicians use telemedicine to reach patients throughout rural Georgia. I am also impressed with their innovative approach to incentivize aspiring physicians to train and then live and work in our rural communities,” the Congressman added.
“We are grateful for Congressman Bishop’s support for three of Augusta University’s telemedicine initiatives,” said Dr. Matt Lyon, professor of Emergency Medicine and executive director of the Center for Ultrasound Education. “The first, supported the creation of Georgia’s first tele-emergency network and was implemented just before COVID-19. We expanded the original design from five rural hospitals to fourteen, including several in southwest Georgia. The tele-ultrasound and tele-dermatology grants utilize less expensive and less antiquated technology to provide education opportunities for future physicians and diagnostic and preventive care for rural and underserved patients across Georgia. All three grants represent a partnership that will pay life-saving dividends through better access to care and educational opportunities for Georgia’s future physicians.”
“The Medical College of Georgia’s 3+ program aims to address the physician shortage in Georgia and is designed to alleviate student medical school debt by offering full tuition scholarships to students who agree to work in rural and underserved parts of Georgia during and beyond their residency. The result will be less student debt, more physicians in rural and underserved Georgia, and better patient outcomes as a result of increased access to primary care physicians across Georgia,” said Dr. David Hess, MCG Dean.