Competing hospitals team up for greater good

South Georgia Medical Education and Research Consortium plans to bring doctors to Southwest Georgia. / Sean Streicher

A primary care physician is usually the first line of care an individual seeks for medical treatment.

Georgia currently ranks 41st in the nation of primary care physicians per 100,000 people, which is something Pheobe Putney's Dr. Doug Patten say's isn't good, "evidence shows that if you have good access to primary care physicians whether its pediatrics, family medicine, internal medicine, or OBGYN, if you have good access to primary care the overall health of the region is improved."

The South Georgia Medical Education and Research Consortium plans to bring more primary care physicians to southwest Georgia.

The Consortiums director, Jessica Rivenbark, explained how, "the way we're going to accomplish that goal is by developing physicians. Allowing them to do their graduate medical education training here, knowing that the majority of physicians stay in the area where they do clinical training to practice."

It's not every day you see the CEO's from 5 competing hospitals recognize a problem then come together to find a solution, but this is a joint venture between, Tift regional, South Georgia Medical Center, Archbold Memorial Hospital, Colquitt Regional, and Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital.

Patten says, "we all have this need in common, we all need more physicians and we're all community based hospitals that serve the needs of our communities and we all recognize that all our communities need more primary care."

Southwest Georgia currently only has 18 medical residency positions available, if all goes as planned that number could increase to 150 over the next 5-10 years alleviating the doctor shortage in Southwest Georgia.

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