Invoice Targets Caribbean Medical College With Eye on Texas

A foreign medical school has been filing for approval to operate in Texas for more than a year, and its controversial offer has overcome a number of obstacles. This legislature, a recently tabled bill, will put them to another high-stakes test.

The American University of the Caribbean, a nonprofit medical school owned by DeVry Inc., is seeking a Power of Attorney from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. This would make it possible to send some Texan students back to their home state to complete their third and fourth medical degrees, which consist of traineeships and clinical electives.

The school’s proposal, which has met with significant opposition from state medical schools, was due to be considered at a January 24th coordinating committee meeting. But, as with his previous efforts, there was a delay – this time on whether or not lawmakers should be able to weigh up.

“The fact is that this issue has entered the political arena and we need to pay attention to these realities,” said Raymund Paredes, Texas Higher Education Commissioner, who recommended approval of the AUC’s proposal, at the meeting, adding that the Coordinating Committee Doing this had to get a feel for whether the legislature intended to legislate on the matter.

They did that.

On January 30th, Sens. Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo, and Robert Duncan, R-Lubbock, submitted Senate Bill 301 credit for a professional qualification “if the facility is chartered overseas or has its headquarters or primary school program overseas” .

The proposal is welcome news for the state’s public medical schools, which have resisted the efforts of the AUC for fear that, particularly with new medical schools in the plants in central and south Texas, there will not be enough room to accommodate their students in the Future will exist.

“We have already spoken about what additional space there is now,” said Dr. Cynthia Jumper, the former director of the Texas Medical Association Medical Education Council and the chair of the department of internal medicine at the Health Sciences Center at Texas Tech University told The Texas Tribune in 2011.

Dr. Bruce Kaplan, AUC’s Chief Academic Officer, said he didn’t understand the point of this recent raid. “I really didn’t want a controversial situation. I really want a collaboration, ”he said.

Kaplan said he made a number of concessions to address concerns. This includes the limitation of the offer in Texas to a total of 20 students who would have to be Texans. (Texas students accounted for 90 of the school’s 1,100 students in 2010.) He also noted that no tax dollars would be used to educate these students and promised to take steps to ensure domestic students are not evicted. AUC officials said they are waiting for the board’s coordination of approval before negotiating with Texas hospitals to see how this could be achieved.

“The people who are really hurt here are the citizens of Texas,” Kaplan said, noting the shortage of general practitioners in the state. “We can provide students, residents and basic services immediately to help alleviate some of the government shortages in the near future.”

Zaffirini was an early skeptic of the AUC plan and questioned whether the Coordinating Committee had legal authority to issue such a power of attorney. When the AUC was up for approval in mid-2011, the Coordinating Committee decided to postpone its decision and instead seek an opinion from the Attorney General as to whether it had such authority.

In November, the Attorney General’s Office issued a ruling that nothing in state law prevents the Coordinating Committee from granting foreign medical schools access to training in Texas hospitals.

On Tuesday, Zaffirini said she disagreed with that opinion and was looking forward to a discussion on the subject in what she believes is part of it: Texas law.

“Maybe they can make a good case,” she said of the AUC representatives. “You will have this chance. One thing that worried me about this process is why the big rush? “

Kaplan said even if lawmakers want to close the door on the AUC in the future, they should “at least now bloom a pilot study to see if it makes sense or not”.

Paredes informed the Coordinating Committee that the AUC matter could be back on the agenda as early as April, but that this would depend on how the legislature deals with SB 301. The committee is also putting inquiries from two extra-state osteopathic schools back to They have a better sense of the mood in the Capitol.

Meanwhile, Kaplan says he will not let matters rest: “I have Texas students who still want to go back,” he said. “They really want this and there is no reason they shouldn’t.”

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