The UC Davis School of Medicine (SOM) and Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing have been asked to reduce their budget by approximately $6 million this year in response to a campus wide shortfall of over $113 million for the 2009-10 year.
Reductions in admissions, scaled-back programming and operational streamlining are all part of what Executive Associate Dean Frederick Meyers calls good business management. He said this type of streamlining happens every year as the SOM strives to become more efficient.
“We’re continuously looking at how we do business,” Meyers said. “This is not just a result of budget cuts, but more a matter of always being fiscally prudent and providing outstanding care.”
The School of Medicine usually takes 105 students every year, but is only taking 93 incoming students for 2009. This is a one-year cutback, but whether or not all 13 closed spots will re-open is a decision that will be made based on many factors, including state funding.
Other steps being taken include eliminating vacant positions, delayed hiring, salary reductions and furloughs.
Staff and faculty will be furloughed based on proportions of salary paid by the state versus external funds and grants. Also, faculty funded by gifts and endowments may be called back from furlough to honor the intents of philanthropic donors.
However, there are facets of the SOM that will not be affected adversely by the fiscal situations.
Charity care, free medical treatment given to underinsured patients who otherwise lack access to high-quality treatment, has doubled from $100 million to $200 million this year.
Another important contribution of the SOM that will not be cut this year is the Rural Programs in Medical Education (PRIME) training program. Established in 2007, Rural PRIME helps train 12 medical students every year to serve in California’s rural areas.
“Twenty percent of the population of California lives in rural areas, but only 9 percent of physicians practice rurally,” SOM officials said in a collaborative response to questions. “UC Davis is committed to addressing the lack of access in rural areas, and to reducing health care disparities in rural populations.”
Administrators say the SOM will continue efforts in fundraising and adopting new practices to meet the challenge of less funding over the next several years by working closely with UC President Mark Yudof and new Chancellor Linda Katehi.
BRIAN GERSON can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org