On Thursday, the State Board of Education unanimously approved a request from Idaho State University to pursue a partnership with a private osteopathic school.
The proposed Idaho School of Osteopathic Medicine would be based on ISU’s Meridian campus, and would employ an estimated 90 faculty members, said Megan Ronk, director of the Idaho Department of Commerce.
The school isn’t guaranteed; Rather, the agreement approval was required for negotiations and development to move forward.
The investment group, The Burrell Group, had previously considered Montana State University as an affiliate school, but those negotiations ended in December. One concern that came up: A private medical school would compete with the WWAMI program.
On Thursday, Idaho’s Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee approved funding for an additional five WWAMI seats, according to Eye on Boise.
Ronk said the department got a tip about a month ago, and has moved quickly to keep the investors’ interest.
“This is a tremendous opportunity for us to leverage a private investment to make a difference,” Ronk said.
The mission of the school would focus on rural healthcare and underserved communities, as well as the state’s physician shortage, said Brian Whitlock of the Idaho Hospital Association.
While there’s no state money going directly to support the school, the Idaho Economic Advisory Council did approve a Tax Reimbursement Incentive award, Ronk said.
On the Department of Commerce website, “Project Mustang,” which was approved Feb. 19, shows a 21 percent reimbursement award over the next 10 years. According to project details, averages wages would be $88,300 for an estimated 90 new jobs. Ronk confirmed Project Mustang is the ISU partnership.
Here’s the breakdown from the Department of Commerce site:
- Number of New Jobs: 90
- Average Wage: $88,300
- Capital Investment: $32.6 million
- Total Project Wages: $79.5 million
- New Total State Revenue: $20.9 million
- New Direct State Revenue: $18.4 million
- Estimated Incentive Value: $3.9 million