Morehouse: Medical School Ties Fate To Grady

Gayle White, Craig Schneider, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, July 27, 2007

If the financially strapped Grady Health System goes under, Atlanta’s Morehouse School of Medicine may follow, the school’s president said Wednesday.

The failure of Grady, which serves as the teaching hospital for Morehouse medical students, “would severely challenge our continued viability,” said Dr. John Maupin, president of the school that was created in 1975 to address the shortage of black doctors and the health care needs of minority and poor communities.

“If Grady closes,” Maupin said, “potentially Morehouse School of Medicine would close.”

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Both schools would suffer without Grady, their officials have said. But whereas Emory University School of Medicine would be crippled, Morehouse could be mortally wounded, Maupin said.

Grady has lost money every year since 2000. Consultants hired by the health system’s governing board have warned that without an infusion of funds, it will fail to make payroll by the end of this year.

A metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce task force estimates that Grady needs about $120 million in short-term cash, about half of which is owed to the medical schools for physicians’ services. The rest would cover operating losses and immediate capital needs.

Emory officials said Wednesday that by the end of July, the hospital system will owe Emory $43 million; the rest is due to Morehouse.

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Morehouse, with about 100 residents, depends almost exclusively on Grady.

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The loss of Morehouse School of Medicine would be “huge,” said Michael Russell, CEO of H.J. Russell & Co. and co-chair of the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce’s Greater Grady Task Force.

The Morehouse medical school “is one of the premiere African-American schools of medicine in the nation,” Russell said.

Maupin also is a member of the task force, which was created at the request of the Fulton-DeKalb Hospital Authority that governs Grady.

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