UC-Merced Officials Propose New Medical School
University of California-Merced officials are proposing the creation of a medical school at its new campus, saying it will draw more physicians and improve medical care in the region, the Stockton Record reports.
According to a UC report, there are 30% fewer physicians and 50% fewer specialists relative to the local population compared with other regions of California. San Joaquin County lost more than $460 million in 2004 from patients seeking care in other regions, the report found (Assemi, Stockton Record, 3/20).
UC-Merced officials said more patients could be retained if medical professionals are trained in the area and base their practices there (Los Angeles Times, 3/21).
Annual operating costs of a medical school are expected to be $50 million to $60 million, the university said. The exact cost of construction will be unknown until a financial plan for the project is completed this spring, but it is expected to cost "millions," the Record reports.
UC-Merced officials will hold a series of public forums throughout the region to gain community support for the proposal, including one on April 12 in Stockton (Stockton Record, 3/20).