UAMS Operating Loss May Top $46 Million

by Mark Friedman  on Monday, Oct. 6, 2008 12:00 am  

The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences will open its $150 million nine-story hospital in January. The Patient Tower will feature larger patient rooms, an emergency department, a clinical lab and a a radiology department.

More Students

Goodhand said part of the operating loss could be tied to the increase in the cost of educating more doctors. UAMS has tried to respond to the doctor shortage in Arkansas by turning out more graduates.

In 2006, UAMS increased the class size for its M.D. program from 150 to 160. And to train even more doctors, UAMS will open its northwest satellite campus in the fall of 2009, which will bring the class size to 180. Costs associated with the northwest satellite campus are included in UAMS' operating numbers.

But the cost of educating students has increased the operating loss, Goodhand said.

"We need state support for every student that comes through [the campus]," Goodhand said. "And the support doesn't go up as fast as the number of students we're trying to add."

Johnson said he didn't think teaching students accounted for a large part of the operating loss because students pay tuition.

"If that's the case, we shouldn't have increased enrollment to 180 students," he said.

Johnson also said he opposed the expansion in northwest Arkansas.

"I just did not think that it was a very good idea for a small state such as Arkansas to have a satellite school, but, be that as it may, it passed," he said.

2010 and Beyond

Goodhand said the projections of operating losses of $41 million in 2010 and $43 million in 2011 are only estimates and that UAMS uses a conservative "worst-case" philosophy to make those projections.

She said the revenue will probably grow faster than the projections anticipate.



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