In the September 14 [News] article The Med School Solution
, the Chronicle
raised interesting concerns regarding the potential new medical school in Austin. As a native Austinite, recent UT graduate, and current graduate student in public health, I find Sen. Kirk Watson and Central Healths proposal to utilize Medicaid 1115 waiver federal dollar-matching to be an excellent option to fund the school and its multitude of associated community health programs. In light of the Affordable Care Act, I appreciate the trend toward filling public health gaps at the community level. However, I have two issues with the proposal. First, how will a medical school created in part by the for-profit, private Seton hospital chain remain effectively governed to accomplish community health initiatives? Second, how can a teaching hospital sustain a reliable and knowledgeable primary care physician workforce in specific needy communities (such as Dove Springs)? I humbly suggest structuring an incentive-based system for new medical students, possibly through the subsidization of medical school tuition in return for a short-term contract to practice community-based primary care in Travis County. Also, the input of voters on the health issues impacting their lives should remain at the heart of the medical schools community outreach.