A compromise was reached by Rio Grande Valley legislators Thursday night on the whereabouts of the medical school in South Texas.
Senate Bill 24, which is set for today’s calendar in the House, will be amended to reflect the compromise, according to J.J. Garza, chief of staff for Rep. Rene Oliveira, D, Brownsville, a co-author of the original bill.
The amendment spells out the details of where the medical school will go.
According to Garza, the administrative offices overseeing undergraduate medical education will be in Hidalgo County. Cameron County will be home to the offices overseeing the medical school’s graduate education.
In addition, Garza said, “Education programs for medical students will take full advantage of existing facilities at UT—Pan American, UT Brownsville and the RAHC (Regional Academic Health Center in Harlingen).”
Third and fourth year programs will be conducted throughout the region, Garza said.
The original legislation, which lawmakers hailed for its teamwork, faced an obstacle when Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa D, McAllen, amended it in the Senate Chamber last week to split the medical school between Hidalgo and Cameron County. The original version established a panel of experts let by the UT System to study where the medical school would best fit.
Despite the disagreement, J.J. Garza, said there was never a moment when legislators panicked.
“I think everyone realized the importance and they always did and I think that everyone knew that the clock was ticking,”
“Panic never set in but there was concern about the deadlines,” Garza said.
The legislative session ends on May 27.