Emory Report

June 1, 1999

 Volume 51, No. 32

Michael Johns stresses Emory's commitment to Grady

Grady Hospital, like much of health care, continues to experience budgetary problems in the wake of managed care. Emory's commitment to the hospital and advocacy for it will remain unchanged, said Michael Johns, executive vice president for health affairs.

Excerpted below is a letter from Johns that appeared on the Momentum listserv and explains the University's continuing commitment to Grady.

"Some things should be self-evident but bear repeating nonetheless. Emory University remains deeply committed to Grady Memorial Hospital, where Emory physicians have been providing medical care and training residents and medical students for over three quarters of a century, more recently in conjunction with our colleagues at Morehouse.

"We are immensely proud of what Grady Hospital does and our roles there: the incredible volume of patients cared for every year, many of whom would not be able to obtain care elsewhere in Atlanta or the state; the outstanding programs in trauma, burns, neonatal care, poison control and other services that benefit all Georgians; the safety net Grady provides for the city's and state's growing number of uninsured citizens; and its role in the public health of the community.

"Grady is not just an integral part of Emory's patient care, teaching and research missions, it is an essential part of our social mission, our commitment to the city of Atlanta and the state of Georgia, and how we view ourselves.

"Rumors that Emory's commitment to Grady is waning are simply not true. Our commitment remains enormous. Let me stress--and I know I speak for President Bill Chace, Medical Dean Tom Lawley and all of Emory's top leadership--that Emory is deeply committed to Grady and to working with Morehouse and Grady leadership to find solutions to the challenges now facing the hospital.

"I'd like to speak directly to the rumor that the redevelopment of Crawford Long has anything to do with Emory's commitment to Grady or our continuing role there. It does not. Look even casually at the plan for Crawford Long and you can see that it is a bed-for-bed replacement plan for our Midtown strategy, not an alternative approach to indigent care, the breadth of medical problems seen at Grady, physician education or anything related to Grady. Our recent joint venture agreement with Columbia/HCA addresses yet other parts of our long-range strategy for geographic diversification and a stronger primary care presence, all unrelated to our roles at Grady.

"We are doing those and other things because it is important to Emory--and to Emory's ability to continue to provide high-quality, low-cost physician services at Grady--that we take appropriate steps to assure our own long-term survival in this threatening health care environment.

"Emory's continuing commitment, support, and collaboration are the messages I will carry when Louis Sullivan, president of Morehouse [School of Medicine], and Edward Renford, CEO of Grady, and I speak to a group of concerned business leaders in the city. Dean Lawley will say the same thing when he and Dr. Sullivan speak briefly at a joint meeting of the DeKalb and Fulton County commissioners. But there is no audience in the city more important than our own faculty and staff, and that is why I wanted to get this message of continuing commitment, support and collaboration to you first. You can help us all by speaking out firmly when you hear anything to the contrary concerning our historical, deeply meaningful role at Grady.

"I want to close by saying a special word of thanks--something we don't say often enough--to all of you who work at Grady. Your own commitment to both Emory and Grady has helped make the hospital the great resource for Atlanta and Georgia it is today. Thank you for all you do for Grady and for the patients it serves. You are part of an effort we prize greatly, and we will continue to support all of you and this great hospital."

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