Georgia Regents University said Monday that it will manage the medical hospitals of Roosevelt Warm Springs Institute for Rehabilitation under a new agreement that begins July 1.
“This partnership brings together the Roosevelt legacy at Warm Springs with the state’s academic health system to enhance this historic campus,” said Greg Schmieg, executive director of the Georgia Vocational Rehabilitation Agency, which currently operates the hospital facilities.
Schmieg said in a statement that he asked Augusta-based Georgia Regents last year for assistance in managing the facility.
The partnership will lead to modernization and improvement of the Warm Springs hospital operations, said Bill Bulloch, executive director of Roosevelt Warm Springs.
The Warm Springs Institute for Rehabilitation was officially incorporated as a polio treatment center in 1927 by Franklin D. Roosevelt, who received treatment for polio there.
Roosevelt, a wealthy New York politician, suffered an almost fatal attack of polio in 1921, and lost the use of his legs. He became an advocate for other people with disabilities and a part-time resident of Warm Springs, located in west Georgia near Pine Mountain. After he became president of the United States in 1933, Warm Springs became internationally famous as his favorite retreat. Roosevelt died there in April 1945, early in his fourth presidential term.
The institute has provided comprehensive medical and vocational rehabilitation for more than eight decades. Its operations include a rehabilitation hospital, which serves people who require 24-hour rehabilitation nursing care and intensive rehabilitation; and a long-term acute care hospital, which treats medically complex patients who are suffering from a recent catastrophic illness or medical complication related to chronic illness or injury.
“We are excited to partner with the state to transform one of Georgia’s health care assets into a self-supporting and profitable enterprise,” said Shawn Vincent, vice president of partnerships and strategic affiliations at Georgia Regents, in a statement. “Our goal is to improve and expand delivery of care in an effort to preserve, and eventually grow, the hospital facilities into an important economic engine for the region.”
The Warm Springs hospitals have experienced rising operational costs, said Vocational Rehabilitation Agency spokesman Kevin Harris.
The state will pay Georgia Regents to manage the facilities, but Harris said late Monday afternoon that he did not know the amount.
A Georgia Regents spokeswoman, Christen Carter, told GHN that the university would assess the hospitals’ physical plant and IT needs over the next year, and after that review begin improvement work.
Georgia Regents currently manages the Georgia War Veterans Nursing Home, located in Augusta, as well as health services at numerous off-site locations, including more than 60 prison facilities for the state Department of Corrections.