KU says proposed private medical school might overburden state

WICHITA — The dean of the University of Kansas’ School of Medicine in Wichita is warning that a private medical school proposed in the city could overburden the state’s health care system and its capacity to train medical students.

Dean Garrold Minns told the Wichita Eagle that the planned Kansas Health Science Center would mean more hospitals, clinics and physicians’ offices would need to handle the increase in students doing rotations.

“With a finite number of clinical training sites available in Kansas, an additional school in the state could significantly increase the need for additional clinical training sites, possibly overwhelming the capacity of our valuable volunteer faculty,” Minns said.

Wichita officials have been negotiating a development agreement with the private school of osteopathic medicine as the state has seen several rural hospitals close in recent years. Fort Scott, Oswego, Horton, Great Bend and Independence have all lost hospitals.

“The city cannot speculate how the presence of a new medical training facility might impact rotations in and out of clinical training,” said city spokeswoman Elyse Mohler.

Many Wichita leaders have lauded the proposed school’s potential to boost economic development.

The project’s developer, Sudha Tokala, wants to open the Kansas Health Science Center along with student apartments, a culinary arts school and a Marriott hotel. The downtown projects are estimated to create 324 net jobs, according to a memorandum of understanding.

Tokala declined to comment.

The Wichita City Council approved a nonbinding development agreement last week and hopes to finalize plans in the coming months. The new school could open by August 2022, according to the memo.

The Kansas Board of Regents will meet in June to discuss allowing the school to operate in the state.


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