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The original item was published from 5/9/2013 6:10:34 PM to 5/9/2013 6:11:25 PM.

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Posted on: May 9, 2013

[ARCHIVED] HIDALGO COUNTY LEADERS STAND IN SUPPORT OF MEDICAL SCHOOL BILL

HC Leaders Stand in Support of Medical School_thumb_thumb.jpg

Flanked by local city mayors and community leaders at a press conference held earlier today, Hidalgo County Judge Ramon Garcia expressed strong support of legislation that was unanimously approved in committee on Wednesday for the first two years of the proposed medical school to be located in Hidalgo County. Garcia stood among representatives from the cities of Alamo, Alton, Donna, Edinburg, La Villa, McAllen, Mercedes, San Juan, and Weslaco, in addition to Pct. 2 Commissioner Hector “Tito” Palacios, who all lent their support behind the coordinated efforts to ensure the success of the medical school.

“This is a regional project,” remarked Garcia. “This amendment to the legislation moves the project forward, attaching real and tangible resources committed to the project. Hidalgo County leaders are committed to ensuring the success of this project, and we are in support of this legislation that addresses the question of structure and, most importantly, funding,” Garcia continued.

In support of the regional effort and the amendment approval, City of Edinburg Mayor Richard Garcia commented, “For us it’s about common-sense, dollars-and-cents and sustainability. I’m very pleased the committee members agreed with that practical perspective,” Mayor Garcia added.

Judge Garcia emphasized that the amendment enhances the viability of the project by expediting the establishment of a fully operational medical school. The original legislative language stated that an advisory committee would be appointed to determine location; however, fearing that process would delay the project, Hidalgo County leaders developed a consortium and devised a plan which would maximize existing academic and medical infrastructure. The current structure in place allows for years 3 and 4 of medical education in Cameron County; a truly regional project would ensure equitable representation in Hidalgo County. This compromise, the leaders asserted, is fair and equitable.

“The medical school will take approximately $40 to $60 million a year to operate, and the state is only committing to paying $30 million,” Judge Garcia stated. “Our solution pledges up to $100 million to match the state contributions until a hospital district is created to support the long-term operations of the medical school.” Garcia added, “With a larger tax base, Hidalgo County residents will bear double the responsibility of contributing to the taxing district; it is only fair that their investment have an impact in their community,” Garcia continued.

Mayors and city representatives at the press conference echoed Judge Garcia’s sentiment, adding that the constituencies they represent stand behind the regional effort to increase academic opportunities in the medical field.

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