Spokane med school legislation in works
Riccelli, Baumgartner have bills ready
Mon., Dec. 1, 2014
A pair of Spokane legislators will propose legislation to put the state’s second medical school in Spokane under the control of Washington State University. Rep. Marcus Riccelli, a Democrat, and Sen. Mike Baumgartner, a Republican, will unveil legislation on Tuesday that would change a nearly century-old law that limits medical education to the University of Washington and provide some $2.5 million for WSU to establish a school that concentrates on family and rural medicine disciplines. “At this point there’s no reduction on anything (for UW Medical School),” Riccelli said. “We want to grow medical education any way possible.” They plan to introduce legislation in both chambers that would amend a 1917 law that places the medical education at UW, allowing WSU to have a separate school at the Riverpoint Campus east of downtown Spokane. “This is not a radical idea,” Riccelli said. “There are plenty of states that have more than one medical school.” UW would continue to receive state funds to operate a portion of the multi-state medical school in Spokane, he said. That university is currently seeking about $8 million in state funds for its medical education program. The goal would be to have an additional 120 medical students graduating per year through the WSU medical school, with most of them interested in practicing in family medicine or in rural areas. The two legislators hope to use their positions on key committees to push the legislation through in what’s expected to be a tight budget year focused on major increases in improvements for the state’s K-12 schools. Baumgartner is vice chairman of the Senate Ways and Means Committee and Riccelli is vice chairman of the House Health Care Committee.
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