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Board of Regents approve medical school partnership to provide better health care for Travis County residents

AUSTIN – The University of Texas System Board of Regents Thursday unanimously approved an affiliation agreement between UT Austin, Central Health and the Community Care Collaborative that establishes an innovative model for improving the delivery and quality of health care in Travis County.

The agreement outlines the role UT Austin’s Dell Medical School will play and how funding authorized by Travis County taxpayers in 2012 will be used to offer better and more efficient health care to Travis County residents, particularly those who are uninsured.

Central Health and the Community Care Collaborative, a nonprofit agency created to coordinate health care delivery, already have approved the affiliation agreement.

“We are pleased to support this partnership, which will serve as a national model for expanding the healthcare infrastructure by creating new opportunities for healthcare delivery,” Regents Chairman Paul Foster said.

Also Thursday, Regents unanimously authorized the establishment of a doctor of medicine degree at UT Austin. The UT Austin Dell Medical School degree proposal must go to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board for final approval. Construction of the Dell Medical School began earlier this year, and the first class of students is expected to start in July 2016, pending preliminary accreditation from the Liaison Committee on Medical Education.

The affiliation agreement serves as a blueprint for Central Health, UT Austin and the Community Care Collaborative to work together to provide state-of-the-art, cost-effective health care. It calls for the coordinated participation of an expanded range of health care providers – from doctors and nurses to social workers and public health professionals.

The model calls for community clinics to provide wellness and preventative health care to reduce hospitalizations and emergency room visits. Central Health, through partner CommUnityCare, operates 24 health centers throughout Travis County.

At the same time, the agreement also maximizes the opportunity for biomedical researchers at UT Austin to translate their work into cutting-edge care for patients in Travis County.

“We are pleased that we can begin our work together to make Austin and Travis County a model healthy community,” said Clay Johnston, M.D., Ph.D., dean of the Dell Medical School. “This agreement will help us fulfill an essential part of our mission: to develop and implement new models to improve care for the underserved. This partnership will be one that other communities strive to emulate.”

Later this year, the Seton Healthcare Family will begin construction of a 211-bed teaching hospital that will serve as the primary training site for Dell Medical School students. An affiliation agreement between UT Austin and Seton is close to being finalized and will be considered by the Board of Regents at a later date.

About The University of Texas System

Educating students, providing care for patients, conducting groundbreaking research and serving the needs of Texans and the nation for more than 130 years, The University of Texas System is one of the largest public university systems in the United States, with nine academic universities, six health institutions and a fall 2013 enrollment of more than 213,000. The UT System confers more than one-third of the state’s undergraduate degrees, educates two-thirds of the state’s health care professionals annually and accounts for almost 70 percent of all research funds awarded to public universities in Texas. The UT System has an annual operating budget of $14.6 billion (FY 2014) including $3 billion in sponsored programs funded by federal, state, local and private sources. With about 90,000 employees, the UT System is one of the largest employers in the state.