AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) – The Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center (TTUHSC) was given more than $78 million by the Texas Legislature during a recent special session, through a bill that authorized $3 billion for “Capital Construction Assistance Projects” at state colleges and universities.
“We greatly appreciate the leadership of our West Texas delegation and the support of the Texas Legislature for helping secure these funds,” TTUHSC President Lori Rice-Spearman, Ph.D., said. “These funds are a significant investment in our expanding infrastructure, enabling us to further our efforts in transforming health care across the state.”
Now expected to benefit from the funding presented in Senate Bill 52, TTHUSC said its Capital Construction Assistance Projects include:
- Renovating existing research infrastructure – $59.9 million
- Physician Assistant facility expansion in Midland – $18.7 million
“This funding will further enhance investment by the legislature secured in the 2019 session. TTUHSC broke ground March 23 on a $30 million expansion for the School of Health Professions Physician Assistant Studies Program,” said the university, “The TTUHSC Physician Assistant Program attracts about 28 applicants per available spot, compared to 3.5 applicants per spot nationally. Currently, there are 112 students in the program; the expansion will increase student capacity and will be instrumental in addressing the shortage of health care professionals in rural areas by providing primary care in the Permian Basin and beyond. There are approximately 160 physician assistants in the Permian Basin with 75% being TTUHSC alums. Construction has started on this facility and is expected to be completed in summer 2022.”
Currently, the university reported around 112 students in the program. TTUHSC argued that the expansion will increase student capacity, and help address the shortage of healthcare professionals in rural areas. Previously, it also announced that its Bachelor of Science in Nursing program would expand to its Amarillo campus.
A 2019 study from the Texas Center for Nursing and Workforce Studies said that Texas is on track to face a shortage of nurses through 2030. The COVID-19 pandemic has only created more of a strain on the healthcare system worldwide and made the staffing shortage in areas such as the High Plains or the Permian Basin more severe.