Archive for Tuesday, March 11, 2014

KU warns of accreditation issues at medical school, but committee rejects funding initiative

March 11, 2014


— Kansas University officials warned Tuesday that without budgetary help from the state, the medical school faces the possibility of losing its accreditation, but a Senate committee rejected their pleas.

"I just implore you to please consider this initiative," said Dr. Doug Girod, executive vice chancellor of the KU Medical Center.

But the Senate Ways and Means Committee approved a capital improvement plan that failed to include two major funding sources that KU said it needs to start construction of an estimated $75 million to $80 million health education building.

Committee Chairman Ty Masterson, R-Andover, was unswayed by Girod's assertion.

After the meeting, Masterson said, "I don't feel the accreditation is in jeopardy. If it were, we would reconsider what we needed to reconsider."

Masterson said KU had sufficient resources "to answer the accreditation issue. It's just prioritization. If they want to prioritize the accreditation as a project they have the resources to do that," he said.

Girod told the committee that the medical school's accreditation body, called the Liaison Committee on Medical Education, recently cited an area of noncompliance because of the school's facilities.

The main medical education building was built in the 1970s and can't accommodate the modern style of physician training that focuses on small groups and simulations of procedures, he said.

Girod said that challenge needed to be addressed now or "we are going to be in a major crisis a decade from now."

Losing accreditation is a lengthy process that often takes years and includes graduated phases of probation and being given a chance to correct the problems. A medical school that loses its accreditation essentially ceases to operate. "It puts you out of business," Girod said.

KU has requested the Legislature release a $25 million FICA refund linked to the medical center, and provide $1.4 million in state dollars per year to help retire $15 million in bonds. The remaining funds needed for the building would be paid with private donations and internal funds, KU has said. Girod said the building could be constructed in two years.

During the Ways and Means Committee meeting, state Sen. Marci Francisco, D-Lawrence, tried to amend the budget to include the $1.4 million for the medical center.

"There is a clear argument in terms of accreditation and in terms of providing an adequate number of physicians" in Kansas, Francisco said.

But Republicans on the committee rejected Francisco's amendment. GOP members of the committee then approved the budget report without the funding sought by KU.

The Ways and Means Committee decision was the second setback to KU this week.

A Senate budget subcommittee Monday deleted $2 million for a proposed institute at Kansas University to develop new technologies and drugs in collaboration with pharmaceutical companies.


Bob Zimmerman 4 years, 2 months ago

My goodness...who at KU is in charge of maintaining relations with the Governor's office and legislature?

It's just one financial hit after the other for KU and there appears to be true animosity between the two parties. None of this would be happening, if there wasn't some consensus within leadership at the Capital.

And where are the Regents to help poor ole KU?

Larry Sturm 4 years, 2 months ago

The regents take their orders from Brownback and the Koch brothers. We hyave the biggest bunch of idiots in Topeka that we have ever had. BROWNBACK AND THE REPUBLICAN LEGISLATURE ARE BAD FOR KANSAS.

Jeff Kilgore 4 years, 2 months ago

I can't speak for anyone else, but my tax dollars are well spent when I see them spent for higher education. 1970s facilities does sound antiquated, and I wonder if 10 years from now the university will suffer as a result, as well as individual members of the legislature, given their age. Do they fully understand that by declining funding, they're quite likely gambling on their own health? Kansas' motto should really read: Kansas, as short term as you can think.

Larry Sturm 4 years, 2 months ago

I don't know where these people got their education or law degrees it must have been by mail order but wanting to degrade the states signature university is a crime in its self.

Mark Varble 4 years, 2 months ago

Well sadly, the antics of Chancellor Gray-Little last year wherein she threatened the legislature with fewer nursing and physician students if the proposed cut of 1/2 of 1% were to occur.

This is a sad state of affairs. The article is essentially saying the Legislature does not trust what KU is telling them.

KU needs to get real with cost. History will judge present day very harshly for what universities are doing to their students. The cost of higher education is out of reach for most middle class. The only salvation is federal student loans. With national student loan debt now surpassing the national credit card debt, and no jobs for the graduates what we are doing to our youth is terrible.

Honesty by KU and honesty by the legislature would be a good change to see. No one wants to hurt KU or the State of Kansas.

Steve King 4 years, 2 months ago

Honesty from the Legislature? Funniest thing I've read all day. We have a 45 year old facility. Accreditation is at risk. And some jar headed GOP/Alec/Koch product targets it specifically? The Board won't act the way "we've been pounding on them" to do. This is someone who compromises? Or who dictates?

The problem is Brownback targeted the sane members of the Legislature for replacement with yes men that would pass the arcane laws he (Koch/Alec) wanted. Then these amateurs with little civic experience if any took to the highway and have started to enact serious restrictions on our liberties and acted like circus showmen. If you grab a tiger by the tail it will turn around and eat you.

John Graham 4 years, 2 months ago

So the state leaders are concerned about having enough doctors to serve the citizens yet they don't seem to care if the medical school (that produces the vast majority of the doctors practicing in this state) loses accreditation which would effectively kill the medical school program. Genius!

Isn't there an old saying about cutting one's nose off to spite their face?

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