Mercer School of Medicine, Piedmont Healthcare Partner to Open Transplant Clinic in Central Georgia

Mercer School of Medicine, Piedmont Healthcare Partner to Open Transplant Clinic in Central Georgia

March 20, 2013

MACON – Mercer University's School of Medicine and its clinical component, Mercer Medicine, are collaborating with Piedmont Healthcare of Atlanta to open an organ transplant satellite clinic in Macon. The joint effort will make pre- and post-kidney transplant services more accessible to patients in Bibb County and surrounding communities. Set to open April 17, the satellite clinic will be located in the Mercer Medicine Internal Medicine Clinic at 707 Pine St. in Macon.

The accessibility of a satellite clinic in Macon could literally be a lifesaver for patients currently undergoing dialysis, as well as those nearing dialysis in the Central Georgia community, said Dr. Ajay Srivastava, a Mercer Medicine nephrologist and assistant professor and chief of the nephrology division at the Mercer School of Medicine.

"Piedmont Transplant Institute has the best kidney transplant survival rates in the state of Georgia and among the highest in the country—for both the transplanted organ and the patient," Dr. Srivastava said. "Unfortunately, due to financial constraints and transportation issues, many local dialysis patients simply can't make the drive to Atlanta periodically for evaluation. The availability of a Piedmont satellite clinic in Macon will afford patients the option of having their pre- and post-transplant evaluations performed locally."

Despite advances in kidney transplantation outcomes, the number of actual transplants performed remains low due to the limited availability of viable kidney donors. Nationally, the number of deceased kidney donors is declining, while the need for kidney transplants continues to grow. With an average wait time of four to five years for a deceased donor kidney, approximately 200 of the more than 3,200 Georgia patients on the transplant waiting list die each year before receiving a kidney transplant. Better access to transplant centers through satellite clinics such as the one in Macon means more patients can be evaluated for transplantation.

"Our partnership with Mercer University allows us to offer better access to transplant care in Central Georgia," said Dr. Mark Johnson, transplant surgeon and program director of the Piedmont Transplant Institute. "Transplantation isn't just a surgical procedure. Our patients need to be evaluated by a specialist prior to receiving a transplant. Following the surgery, they require long-term follow-up care due to the risk of organ rejection.

But it is not just patients in the community who will benefit from the partnership, Dr. Srivastava said, the collaboration will also create landmark training fellowships in Infectious Disease and Nephrology for future Mercer medical residents. "These new fellowships will expand subspecialty training for our medical students and, ultimately, elevate the caliber of physicians the Mercer School of Medicine graduates into Georgia's communities," he said.

For more information about the Mercer University School of Medicine, visit medicine.mercer.edu. For more information about transplant services at Piedmont Atlanta Hospital, visit piedmonttransplant.org.

About Mercer University School of Medicine

Mercer University School of Medicine has granted degrees to 1,154 Doctor of Medicine students—49 percent chose primary care as a specialty and 62 percent of graduates currently practice in the state of Georgia. Of those who practice in state, 83 percent are practicing in rural or medically underserved areas of Georgia. Mercer University School of Medicine has three medical school campuses. The Macon campus was founded in 1982 and is on the campus of Mercer University. The Savannah campus opened as a full four year campus in 2008 and is on the campus of Memorial University Medical Center. The Columbus campus opened in 2012 for third- and fourth-year medical students. Following their second year, students participate in core clinical clerkships at the School's primary teaching hospitals: The Medical Center of Central Georgia in Macon; Memorial University Medical Center in Savannah; and The Medical Center and St. Francis Hospital in Columbus. The School also offers master's degrees in public health, family therapy, preclinical sciences and biomedical sciences and a Ph.D. in Clinical Medical Psychology.

About Mercer Medicine

Mercer Medicine is the multi-specialty physician practice and clinical component of the Mercer University School of Medicine through which faculty physicians provide advanced primary, as well as specialized care to patients throughout Central Georgia using the latest health care innovations, treatments and procedures while supporting a clinical learning environment for medical students and residents. Board Certified Internal and Family Medicine physicians specialize in cardiology, critical care medicine, endocrinology, infectious disease, nephrology, palliative care, psychiatry and behavioral science, pulmonology and rheumatology. Backed by the academic resources of Mercer University, Mercer Medicine physicians also conduct groundbreaking clinical research in the areas of cardiovascular disease, HIV/AIDS and other infectious diseases, kidney and renal diseases and disorders, and pulmonology. Mercer Medicine currently employs more than 80 full-time faculty physicians, nurse clinicians, and support staff at clinic locations in Macon, Georgia. For more information about Mercer Medicine and its physicians, please call (478) 301-2528.

About Piedmont Healthcare

Piedmont Healthcare, a not-for-profit organization, is the parent company of Piedmont Atlanta Hospital, a 529-bed acute tertiary care facility in the north Atlanta community of Buckhead and the top acute-care, non-academic hospital in metro Atlanta in the 2012-13 U.S. News and World Report's Best Hospitals list; Piedmont Fayette Hospital, a 157-bed acute-care community hospital in Fayetteville, Georgia; Piedmont Mountainside Hospital, a 42-bed community hospital in Jasper, Georgia; Piedmont Newnan Hospital, a 136-bed acute-care community hospital in Newnan, Georgia; and Piedmont Henry Hospital, a 215-bed acute-care community hospital in Stockbridge, Georgia. Piedmont Healthcare also is the parent company of Piedmont Heart Institute, comprised of nearly 100 affiliated cardiovascular specialists in Piedmont Heart Institute Physicians with 25 locations across north Georgia; the Piedmont Physicians Group, a multi-specialty group with more than 150 primary care physicians in over 50 offices, in addition to more than 20 specialists in over 15 locations across greater Atlanta; the Piedmont Clinic, an 800-member physician network; and Piedmont Healthcare Foundation, the philanthropic entity for private fundraising initiatives. Three Piedmont Healthcare hospitals—Piedmont Hospital, Piedmont Fayette Hospital, and Piedmont Mountainside Hospital—have received top ratings from patients among metro Atlanta hospitals according to the HCAHPS (Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems) survey results for the past since 2008. For more information about Piedmont Healthcare, visit piedmont.org.

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Tara F. Poole
(478) 301-2528
poole_tf@mercer.edu