Washington state Gov. Jay Inslee this morning signed into law a bill that clears the way for Washington State University’s proposal to create an independent medical school in Spokane.
Specifically, the new law amends a 98-year-old statute that gave the University of Washington exclusive rights to provide medical education in the state.
State Sen. Michael Baumgartner, R-Spokane, had sponsored the successful legislation in the state senate, and state Rep. Marcus Riccelli, D-Spokane, was the prime sponsor for an identical bill in the House.
WSU said in a press release that it next will seek $2.5 million from state lawmakers to start the medical school accreditation process. Should the school receive preliminary accreditation, it then can begin recruiting students. WSU said its goal is to begin admitting its first WSU College of Medicine class to begin instruction in August of 2017.
Inslee said in the release, “We have depended on doctors trained in other states to come to Washington to practice, yet the needs in our rural and underserved communities are not being met. In some areas, shortages are great.”
He adds, “By removing a historic prohibition, we allow Washington State University to begin planning for a new medical school, and we will promote good family-wage jobs in the greater Spokane area.”
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