Table of Contents
Legislature Provides Funding Increases for UT Health Science Center
The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston received a 9.74 percent increase in operating appropriations from the 80th Texas Legislature, or $23.7 million above appropriations in Fiscal Years 2006 and 2007.
This increase represents growth in formula funding with a significant increase to Graduate Medical Education. New funds also include special item funding of $5 million for the biennium for World's Greatest Scientists. The Legislature appropriated $5 million over the same period for expansion of the UT School of Public Health and its Institute for Health Policy; however, the Governor vetoed this item.
In addition, the UT Health Science Center received $9 million in debt service for tuition revenue bonds for the new dental school building and a $7 million increase in operating funds for the biennium from the State Health Services Department budget for the UT Harris County Psychiatric Center.
Grateful to Legislature
"I am especially grateful to the members of the Legislature for their time and attention to our broad-based and divergent financial needs," said James T. Willerson, M.D., president of the UT Health Science Center. "We fared very well this year compared to the 6.7 percent average increase for the UT System as a whole."
The health science center also benefits from other items in the appropriations bill:
- A new mental health crisis program was funded with $82 million for distribution throughout the state.
- The Texas Emerging Technology Fund received $175 million for the biennium, increasing available sources of revenue for technology transfer and recruitment.
- For nursing, $8.7 million, was added to the Professional Nursing Shortage Reduction Program, to be distributed to all nursing schools for growth in the number of nursing graduates.
- The Legislature created a new "Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas" and authorized $3 billion in bonds (to be issued in increments of $300 million per year) if voters approve them in the November election. This fund targets grants for research into the causes, cures and prevention of cancer.
- The Legislature addressed expanding health care access through reforms in Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program. These changes should provide some assistance to under- or uninsured patients seen by health science center physicians and dentists and to patients seen at the psychiatric center.
Effect on Operating Budget
While the Legislature provided the health science center with a significant increase, the state appropriation provides only 27.2 percent of total dollars expended for the annual operating budget.
Kevin Dillon, executive vice president, administration and business affairs, and chief financial officer, said, "We are extremely grateful that the Legislature answered our requests for increased funding in numerous key areas. The final development of our operating budget is now under way, and these funds will be added to our other revenue sources to develop an operating budget that meets our growing needs and addresses the increased cost of some critical items such as utility expenditures."
By Sabrina Midkiff, Governmental Relations
Previous story Next story