Medical Schools To Receive $200M for Telemedicine
California will provide $200 million to expand the telemedicine programs at the five University of California medical schools as part of a $10.4 billion state education measure that voters approved in the November election, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports.
The telemedicine funds, which were approved through Proposition 1D, "shall be used for capital improvements that expand and enhance medical education programs with an emphasis on telemedicine aimed at developing high-tech approaches to health care," according to the bond measure.
Some of the funds will link the five medical schools through a high-definition video conferencing connection that will allow students to participate in lectures by specialists at any of the campuses, the Union-Tribune reports.
The UC-San Diego medical school plans to spend $35 million of the telemedicine funds on faculty-physician teams in six underserved areas and a new telemedicine center on campus. The center would link to the other UC campuses and provide continuing education programs for physicians. It also would contain a simulator to teach telemedicine techniques, the Union-Tribune reports.
Opponents of the telemedicine funds, including the Senate Education Committee and the Assembly Higher Education Committee, argue that the funds should be spent on equipment, upgrading medical buildings and expanding medical school enrollment. Legislators also were concerned that the proposal for telemedicine funds lacked necessary details, the Union-Tribune reports.
The five UC medical schools are preparing plans to spend the funds and must consult the California Legislature before spending any of the bond money, according to Lawrence Hershman, a UC vice president (Mendel, San Diego Union-Tribune, 11/28).