SSB 5487

This analysis was prepared by non-partisan legislative staff for the use of legislative members in their deliberations. This analysis is not a part of the legislation nor does it constitute a statement of legislative intent.

As Passed Senate, March 10, 2015

Title: An act relating to higher education programs at Washington State University and the University of Washington.

Brief Description: Concerning higher education programs at Washington State University and the University of Washington.

Sponsors: Senate Committee on Higher Education (originally sponsored by Senators Baumgartner, Billig, Rivers, Keiser, Schoesler, Hatfield, Angel, King, Liias, Mullet, Dansel, Ericksen, Warnick, Honeyford, Brown, Hasegawa, Hewitt and Chase).

Brief History:

Committee Activity: Higher Education: 2/03/15, 2/10/15 [DPS-WM, w/oRec].

Ways & Means: 2/18/15, 2/24/15 [DPS(HIE)].

Passed Senate: 3/10/15, 45-4.


Majority Report: That Substitute Senate Bill No. 5487 be substituted therefor, and the substitute bill do pass and be referred to Committee on Ways & Means.

Signed by Senators Bailey, Chair; Baumgartner, Vice Chair; Kohl-Welles, Ranking Minority Member; Becker, Liias and Miloscia.

Minority Report: That it be referred without recommendation.

Signed by Senator Frockt.

Staff: Kimberly Cushing (786-7421)


Majority Report: That Substitute Senate Bill No. 5487 as recommended by Committee on Higher Education be substituted therefor, and the substitute bill do pass.

Signed by Senators Hill, Chair; Braun, Vice Chair; Dammeier, Vice Chair; Honeyford, Vice Chair, Capital Budget Chair; Hargrove, Ranking Member; Keiser, Assistant Ranking Member on the Capital Budget; Bailey, Becker, Billig, Brown, Fraser, Hasegawa, Hatfield, Hewitt, Kohl-Welles, O'Ban, Padden, Parlette, Rolfes, Schoesler and Warnick.

Staff: Michael Bezanson (786-7449)

Background: In 1917 the Washington State Legislature defined the term major line to mean the development of the work or courses of study in certain subjects, leading to a degree in that subject. The Legislature also designated major lines to be exclusively offered by either the University of Washington (UW) or the State College of Washington, later renamed the Washington State University (WSU), or to be shared by both UW and WSU.

Today, state law continues to stipulate that certain major lines of study may only be offered by the following universities:

In 1946 the UW School of Medicine was founded. In the early 1970s, the UW created a regional medical education program which today serves Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana, and Idaho and is known as WWAMI. Universities from the five states partner with UW to offer basic sciences courses to first-year medical school students enrolled in WWAMI, including WSU.

Summary of Substitute Bill: The WSU Board of Regents is authorized to establish, operate, and maintain a school of medicine. Medicine and forestry are major lines that WSU may offer and teach in addition to UW.

Appropriation: None.

Fiscal Note: Available.

Committee/Commission/Task Force Created: No.

Effective Date: Ninety days after adjournment of session in which bill is passed.

Staff Summary of Public Testimony on Original Bill (Higher Education): PRO: This bill updates a hundred-year-old law that helped develop a world leader in medical education but has also restricted the number of doctors that Washington produces. The state has made significant investments in Spokane to build a medical campus. This bill leverages physical biomedical resources in Spokane. The WSU Board of Regents adopted a resolution to pursue medical education and remains committed as a WWAMI partner. WWAMI is a key part of medical education in this state. WSU will play a role in addressing a shortage of physicians. WSU has been training doctors for over 40 years as subcontractor of WWAMI. WSU has the infrastructure in place and it is not necessary to build a teaching hospital because of community-based partnerships. WSU plans to couple a strong admissions program with placement of students in communities around the state to lead to high retention rates. We need more slots for resident students. This provides opportunity for students aspiring to be doctors and want to study in their home state. Having additional medical schools in one state or city is not an issue. WSU has over 1000 nurses and medical partnerships throughout the state to address public health problems. The addition of medical students will make these relationships richer and more meaningful.

There are too few primary care physicians in the state. Over 85 percent of physicians are imported. We cannot find the doctors we need to serve the population. Support of additional medical students will build support for more residencies. It will bring more research dollars to Washington and produce more doctors. This proposal has sustained economic impact for both the region and state. Health care is the largest industry in Spokane, representing about one in four jobs. By 2030 the full build-out of the Spokane Riverpoint campus has a estimated regional economic impact of $1.7 billion annually and $2.1 billion for the state as a whole. It will generate employment for 10,000 eastern Washington residents and will exceed 13,000 for the state.

OTHER: Do not harm UW School of Medicine's 40-year commitment to eastern Washington. Do not erase the current support for 80 medical students who will be taught in Spokane this fall. Whether or not the state chooses to endorse and fund a second medical school in state is up to the Legislature. UW does not oppose the bill, the law is outdated. We have financial concerns. WSU assumes it will reprogram nearly $6 million per year. Without these funds, the future of the WWAMI students in Spokane becomes very uncertain. As you consider this legislation, give WSU its own independent resources to move forward. We share a genuine desire to meet health care needs in Washington by better funding health professional loan repayments and medical residencies.

Persons Testifying (Higher Education): PRO: Senator Baumgartner, prime sponsor; Senator Billig; Dr. Robert Sutton, Pacific NW University of Health Sciences; Candace Mumm, Spokane City Council; Jim Hedrick, Greater Spokane Incorporated; Mike Worthy, Ken Roberts, Patricia Butterfield, WSU; Hayley Hohman, Associated Students of WSU; Michael Patmas, Rockwood Clinic; Joe Wilczek, Franciscan Health System; Kim Pearman-Gillman, McKinstry, University District; Francisco R. Velazquez, M.D., S.M.

OTHER: Ian Goodhew, UW Medicine; Genesee Adkins, UW; Alex Bolton, Graduate and Professional Student Senate at UW, Vice President.

Staff Summary of Public Testimony (Ways & Means): PRO: This bill is just a technical change to a policy choice that is over 100 years old. Society has changed over the past 100 years. We should be able to have more than one medical school in the state. This is about creating more doctors, better patient access, increasing economic development, and increased research dollars. The bill has bipartisan and community support. This school will benefit Spokane and Washington.

The best route to more doctors is a medical school. We need to promote the highest level of care to patients and cannot have one medical school doing it. 120 medical school students is not enough. We have the capital infrastructure to increase the current supply of medical students now.

OTHER: Whatever decision you make regarding a medical school is your choice but we ask that you do no harm to WWAMI. We have concerns over the funding WWAMI needs to continue to operate if a second school starts. This program has a deep community involvement and is committed to growing WWAMI in Spokane. We do not oppose a new medical school. If we cannot get funding we could lose the incoming group of medical students and that means less doctors now.

WWAMI has produced and continues to produce a number of great physicians. The program supports doctors in the program and after. Every school needs additional slots. We do not want doctors going out of state. WWAMI is a great program.

Persons Testifying (Ways & Means): PRO: Senator Baumgartner, prime sponsor; Senator Billig; Elson Floyd, Ken Roberts, WSU; Rich Hadley, Leaders for a WSU Medical School.

OTHER: Ian Goodhew, UW Medicine; Genesee Adkins, UW; Austin Wright-Pettibone, Associated Students of the UW; Dr. Marty Sackmann, Family Physician Ritzville.