Topeka — Despite expected budget cuts in many areas of state government, Kansas University officials on Monday pushed for a $30 million commitment from Gov. Sam Brownback to help construct a new $75 million medical building at KU Medical Center's main campus in Kansas City, Kan.
Steve Stites, KUMC's acting executive vice chancellor, was scheduled to meet with Brownback to discuss the proposed education and training facility.
Stites said the current medical education building, which opened in 1976, was made for the large-group lecture format, which does not fit the modern medical training model.
He said medical training has evolved from "see one, do one, teach one," to small group, team-based instruction with lots of simulation and practice before trying a procedure in real life.
Stites compared the new method to pilot training, which produces a low error rate in the airline industry.
"Pilots don't make mistakes and doctors do. What is different about their training? Pilots learn in small groups; it's all about simulation. They are put in every type of situation so they know how to deal with it before they go into the real world," he said.
In addition, he said a new medical education building was needed to help keep up with the demand for physicians in Kansas. The proposed building would increase the class size at the Kansas City campus by 40 students, from 120 to 160.
As of 2010, Kansas ranked 39th among the 50 states in active physicians per 100,000 population. And by 2030, 60 percent of the current physician workforce in Kansas will have left the profession.
KU is competing for students with Nebraska, Iowa, Missouri, Colorado, Oklahoma and Arkansas, which have recently built new medical education buildings or upgraded facilities, Stites said.
Under KU's proposal, the state would provide $30 million in bonds over a 10-year period.
KU also is asking the state to release $26 million that was returned from the federal government as part of a FICA refund related to payroll taxes paid back in the 1990s.
And KU officials have said the school will embark on a $22 million fund-raising venture for the building.
KU's budget request also includes nearly $3 million for improvements at the School of Medicine's Wichita campus.
Brownback will release his budget recommendation next month when the 2013 legislative session starts.
In preparing his budget, Brownback's office directed state agencies to include a 10 percent budget cut in their spending requests.
Last month, Brownback told the Kansas Board of Regents there was little chance of an overall increase for higher education.
“I really don’t think the time is appropriate with the Legislature or with me to ask for base funding” increases, Brownback had said.
But Brownback said the possibility existed to provide additional dollars for specific projects at the universities.