WSU medical school

House Bill 1559 would change a 1917 law and allow WSU to offer a medical school in Spokane. There is a companion bill in the Senate.

The House bill, which has 65 co-sponsors so far, is set to get a hearing Tuesday morning bright and early at 8:00 a.m. in the House Higher Education Committee. You can watch it online at TVW.org.

For a refresher on how these bills become a law, allow Schoolhouse Rock to explain (this video focuses on the federal government, but the process at the state level still applies):

The hearing is a chance for committee members to get any questions answered before acting on the bill. These bills are just one step in our pursuit of a medical school in Spokane. The 1917 law needs to be changed, and we are also asking the legislature to provide $2.5 million in startup funds for the next two years. With that funding, we will be able to hire a Founding Dean, begin to recruit faculty and develop curriculum.

So why is this important?

The need for a medical school in Spokane is great. There are too many communities with health care needs that have citizens traveling long distances to find care. Other communities have a shortage of doctors. The community-based model we plan on implementing will actively recruit students from rural and underserved areas and place students in those areas for the third and fourth years of medical school. This introduces them to the community and increases the chances of them practicing there.

If the 1917 law is changed, and the legislature approves funding in its operating budget, the final approval will come from Governor Jay Inslee.

Establishing a medical school in Spokane would continue WSU’s investment in Spokane.