News 12 at 6 o'clock, January 21, 2008
AUGUSTA, Ga.---A Medical College of Georgia expansion plan got the go-ahead from the Georgia Board of Regents Monday. MCG President Dr. Dan Rahn was cautiously optimistic.
"It's not a blanket approval; it's an acceptance of those recommendations with the information to be included in an ongoing planning process," he said.
The board is looking to move forward with a plan that calls for statewide expansion in Augusta, Albany, Athens, and Savannah. This comes at a cost of about $200 million dollars.
Dr. Rahn's outlook: "Challenging, daunting, and I'm confident that we're ready to move forward to the next step...really of defending the budgetary recommendations that are in the governor's budget."
Governor Sonny Perdue is recommending $7.2 million in the coming year's budget. The project is expected to require $10 million dollars or more in start-up costs.
"It is an enormous undertaking that will involve decision making and commitment of resources over time," Dr. Rahn said. "We're looking for M.C.G. to play the lead role in the public higher education response to addressing the physician workforce needs."
With the state facing a possible shortage of doctors in the coming years, Dr. Rahn says he is encouraged by Monday's announcement. "I think that it's one more step in what will be a long journey in a process that's incredibly important to the future of the state."