David Ralston, speaker of the Georgia House, said the physician residency program at Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital is a win for the hospitals in the region, as well as for the community. Ralston said the Georgia General Assembly has taken steps to expand the number of new residency slots in Southwest Georgia to 142 over the next three years.
ALBANY, Ga. — Speaking to new physicians and attendees at a reception for the physicians at Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital Wednesday, Georgia House Speaker David Ralston promised to expand the number of slots available for family medicine residencies in Southwest Georgia.
“The history of Phoebe’s residency program dates back to 1990, when it was championed by Gerald Greene, a member of the General Assembly who is still active and still a leader in the House of Representatives,” Ralston said.
According to Ralston, Greene and other leaders at that time saw the critical need for bringing a residency program to the region. Ralston also credited current Reps. Ed Rynders and Carol Fullerton with the establishment of the program.
Ralston said the original and current goal for the program is to address the shortage of physicians in underserved communities of rural Southwest Georgia, and for 60 percent of resident physicians to ultimately establish practice within 60 miles of Albany. Over the course of the program, the 60 percent goal has been greatly exceeded, Ralston said.
“The program is clearly a win for the community here in Southwest Georgia, the hospitals and the residents,” the Speaker said. “It doesn’t just bring highly skilled professionals to the community, it builds a relationship with talented physicians. I’m hopeful they will call this place home and continue to do that in the future.”
Ralston went on to say the Georgia General Assembly has taken steps to expand the number of residency slots by supporting and funding the Southwest Georgia Consortium, which will add 142 new residency slots over the next three years.
“Today, communities in Southwest Georgia have 26.6 percent fewer family physicians than called for by federal standards,” Ralston said. “These programs are important and are a priority for those of us in state government.”