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April 19, 2002


Emory University School of Medicine Wins $4.2 Million Grant for General Clinical Research Center at Grady Hospital

The National Institutes of Health have awarded a three-year, $4.2 million grant to Emory University School of Medicine to open the first-ever General Clinical Research Center (GCRC) in Grady Memorial Hospital. The grant, which is renewable for additional years, brings with it the promise of innovative treatments for Grady patients, new educational and training opportunities for Emory and Morehouse School of Medicine students and staff, and a large infusion of revenue for Grady's bottom line.

The GCRC will support physician-scientists in tackling some of the most intractable problems found at Grady and other large urban hospitals, such as fighting kidney disease caused by sickle cell anemia, looking for new ways to treat victims of traumatic injury, and studying new vaccines for HIV/AIDS. Many other diseases prevalent in underserved patients will be studied in accordance with protocols that will be considered and approved by Institutional Review Boards to assure patient safety. New techniques developed in the center will be applied to care in the rest of the hospital. Physicians, residents, medical students, and nurses will rotate through the center, which will also have a permanent core staff of nine nurses and many participating physicians.

The new center deepens a decades-long partnership between Emory University School of Medicine and Grady Memorial Hospital. Grady's medical staff is composed primarily of Emory School of Medicine faculty and residents; the remainder are faculty and residents from Morehouse. Grady is the primary clinical training site for both Emory and Morehouse. About one of every four physicians in Georgia have worked in Grady because of their Emory and Morehouse training.

Unit 8A in Grady will be made over for the GCRC, which is set to open later this month, said Juha Kokko, M.D., Ph.D., associate dean for clinical research and Asa G. Candler Professor of Medicine at Emory. The center will have six inpatient beds, one outpatient bed and five infusion bays where patients can receive intravenous medications. The new grant represents a major source of patient care income for Grady, as well as an indispensable vehicle for helping to develop new treatments for disease.

"A General Clinical Research Center (GCRC) is a well-defined area in a hospital which is completely funded by the NIH," said Dr. Kokko. "It's very unusual to find a GCRC in a non-university-owned hospital. All patients will be completely paid for by an outside payer, the NIH, although in some cases they might be paid for by a pharmaceutical company or another sponsor of a clinical study in the GCRC. Thus, the hospital as well as the patients will benefit. In addition, Emory and Morehouse students and residents will have an unprecedented opportunity to learn from faculty how to conduct clinical research."

From an administrative standpoint, the Grady GCRC will function as a satellite to a long-established GCRC at Emory University Hospital. The program director of the Grady GCRC will be Lawrence S. Phillips, MD, professor of medicine at Emory. The Grady GCRC is being funded outright by the NIH for three years, after which it can be renewed at five year increments, contingent on the renewal of the "parent" GCRC grant at Emory.

Edward J. Renford, president and CEO of the Grady Health System, said that the economically disavantaged patients who compose most of Grady's population would benefit from having new attention paid to diseases and conditions that affect them disproportionately.

"We are enthusiastic supporters of this initiative," he said. "The GCRC takes advantage of the distinctive strengths and needs of all of the partners here, Grady, Emory, and Morehouse, to create a climate of greater excellence throughout the largest and busiest hospital in Atlanta."

Kokko said that the grant has been designed to take into account the concerns of the patient population served by Grady. Therefore, the grant supports the hiring of a Research Subject Advocate, who will be an expert in health education and communications, and a Patient Care Advocate, defined as a clinical nurse specialist who will serve as a liaison between doctors, research oversight committees, staff, and patients.

Both advocates will be voting members of an Advisory Committee that will review all projects, including consent forms, safety monitoring, and nursing care plans.

"The General Clinical Research Center at Grady is a win-win for everyone involved," said Thomas J. Lawley, M.D., dean of the Emory University School of Medicine. "Patients will benefit and the hospital's bottom line will benefit. The GCRC will have a very important impact on the treatment of patients at Grady, as well as on the finances of the hospital."

  • Emory is pleased to assist the Fulton DeKalb Hospital Authority and the Grady Health System (GHS) in providing outstanding care to the citizens of Fulton and DeKalb counties and to citizens of other counties in Georgia. Without the joint efforts of Emory, Grady, and Morehouse, health care for the indigent citizens of Fulton and DeKalb counties would suffer.
  • Here are some of the services that Emory physicians working at Grady provide to the community: - The largest Level I trauma center in the metro area. More than 85 percent of major trauma in the metro area is treated at Grady.
    - The Georgia Poison Center is housed at Grady, receiving more than 100,000 calls a year from all over the state.
    - The cardiology medication (coumadin) clinic is the largest such clinic in the U.S.
    - The Grady Perinatal Center is the largest of 6 such centers in Georgia.
    - The Grady Infectious Disease Center is one of the largest in the country, and one of the best.
    - The Diabetes Center is recognized statewide for its work in decreasing the rate of serious cardiovascular disease and leg amputation in diabetics.
  • Emory supplies 509 faculty physicians to GHS. These physicians represent the equivalent of 276 full time attending physicians to serve Grady and its patients. These 276 FTEs provide close to 85 percent of all the patient care delivered at Grady.
  • These doctors last year attended to over 680,000 patient visits and 30,000 admissions at Grady.
  • Each day 370 of Emory's resident physicians work at Grady. These physicians are in 68 fully accredited primary and specialty care programs.
  • Because of the care provided by Emory physicians, Grady was able to collect an estimated $245 million in patient revenue in 2001.
  • Grady's 2001 budget totalled $532.2 million. Of the $49.3 million that Grady allocated to Emory, Grady was directly reimbursed by federal and state agencies for over $32 million of this amount.
  • The net cost to Grady for the Emory attending physicians, as well as resident physicians, was about $17.3 million, or 3.2 percent of the GHS budget. This net cost is covered by revenues Grady receives from patient care, State disproportionate share income, and Fulton and DeKalb county subsidies.
  • Forty percent (40%) of all patients seen at Grady are uninsured and do not pay for services.
  • In 2001, Emory provided an additional $24.6 million in support for physicians, staff, and programs at Grady.
  • In 2001, the Emory physicians working at Grady provided indigent patient care which amounted to about $25.5 million of professional care for which there was no reimbursement.

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