University of North Texas’ 3-year-old proposal to institute an M.D. program in its Health Science Center still has a long way to go as it continues to face opposition from key individuals backing the Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine (TCOM), as well as parties concerned with the lack of sufficient residency slots in the region.
According to the Texas Legislative Council, the deadline for filing all legislation and joint resolutions will occur on Friday, March 8th. As the deadline draws nearer, legislators will weigh in on the chances of the proposal in the next session.
According to the Star-Telegram:
“I don’t think it’s going to happen this session,” said Rep. Charlie Geren, R-Fort Worth, whose district includes the health science center. Geren, a top member of House Speaker Joe Straus’ leadership team, said he would support any move to “grow” the health science center but warned that the state must first create needed residency slots before funding additional medical schools.
Sen. Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, chairwoman of the Senate Health and Human Services Committee, also questioned whether the proposal could clear the Legislature this session. Nelson, whose support is considered crucial to the effort, has repeatedly said she wants assurances that an M.D. program would not undermine the osteopathic program before she fully commits to the effort.
“TCOM is one of the finest medical schools in the nation,” Baker said. “You would think the leadership in the city and the county would be extremely proud of the institution they have and put the time and energy they have to advance TCOM.”
Given the tight deadline and outstanding issues for resolving the proposal for the M.D. program still in question, it remains to be seen if the proposal can be salvaged prior to the deadline in the Texas Legislative Council.