UT regents approve plans for new Dell Medical School

University anticipates opening school in 2016

In 2016, if everything goes according to plan, roughly 50 University of Texas students will become the inaugural class of the Dell Medical School at UT. They will work and learn in two new buildings constructed near the Frank Erwin Center.

A year later, those same students will apply what they've learned by treating patients in a new teaching hospital Seton Healthcare plans to build to replace University Medical Center Brackenridge.

On May 9, UT board of regents approved a $334 million plan to build the first phase of the medical school campus, but there are many steps that must be completed between now and 2017.

UT officials are aiming to raise money, hire faculty, develop a medical program, get the new school accredited and build the facilities by summer 2016.

Seton must get its parent company, Ascension Health, to sign off on the new teaching hospital, which will be the largest project in Ascension's history. Seton officials expect to open the Level I trauma center in 2017.

Because of voters' approval of Proposition 1 in November, Central Health hopes to maximize the amount of federal matching funds it can draw down from the 1115 Medicaid Waiver program.

The way health care is delivered is changing in Central Texas, according to local officials.

"It seems like in Austin right now, the planning of a medical school, approvals from the federal government for a community care collaborative and the significant amount of money [being allocated] for outpatient wellness and prevention ... have created an extraordinary moment, and it's one we're taking advantage of in Central Texas," said David Evans, CEO of Austin Travis County Integral Care, which provides behavioral health and developmental disabilities services.

Constuction costs for Phase 1 of the new medical school would be financed through revenue bonds issued by UT, backed by funding from the UT system and the available university fund, which is part of the state's endowment for UT and Texas A&M University schools.

It may cost more than $500 million a year to run the hospital and medical school, UT spokesman Robert Cullick said.

The UT board of regents has agreed to invest $25 million a year, Cullick said. UT is planning a fundraising campaign.

He said donors could fund naming rights for the school buildings, endowments and individual areas of research. The Michael and Susan Dell Foundation has pledged a $50 million grant over 10 years.


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