At a Legislative Budget Board hearing in Austin last week, The Texas A&M University System Health Science Center received $2.7 million in federal fiscal relief funding to address critical health education, research and service needs for its 2005 fiscal year, which begins today.
“We are grateful that the governor and members of the Legislative Budget Board allocated this funding prior to the beginning of fiscal year 2005,” said Nancy W. Dickey, M.D., president of the Health Science Center and vice chancellor for health affairs for the A&M System. “We thank Gov. Perry, Lt. Gov. Dewhurst, Speaker Craddick and the members of the Legislative Budget Board and other legislators who worked hard to provide this funding so we could avoid significant cuts in service. With the receipt of these additional funds, we can continue the same level of indigent care support we have offered in 2004, including support for the Brazos Valley Family Medicine Residency Program, which is the largest provider of CHIP, Medicaid and indigent care services in the Brazos Valley, and dental services provided by Baylor College of Dentistry, which is the largest provider of reduced-fee dental services in the North Texas area.”
“Also critical to our mission is our continued participation in and support of the millions of dollars of indigent care provided by our several clinical teaching partners, each of which is a major provider of indigent care, Medicaid and CHIP services,” she added.
In addition to those already mentioned, the Legislative Budget Board members who granted the funding are Senate Finance Chairman Steve Ogden, House Appropriations Chairman Talmadge Heflin; Sens. Judith Zaffirini, John Whitmire, and Robert Duncan; and Reps. Vilma Luna, Fred Hill and Brian McCall. Rep. Fred Brown was also a strong supporter of the funding allocation.
The 78th Legislature set targeted appropriation levels for all of the state’s health-related institutions and established a legislative priority to use federally provided state fiscal relief funds to meet the fiscal year 2005 funding targets (Article III Special Provisions Section 56). This legislative priority was added during the final days of the legislative session to mitigate some of the reductions contained in each state health science center’s appropriation, but until the action of the LBB on August 23, the health science centers could not actually access the funds.
The Texas A&M University System Health Science Center provides the state with health education, outreach and research. Its five components located in communities throughout Texas are Baylor College of Dentistry, the College of Medicine, the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, the Institute of Biosciences and Technology and the School of Rural Public Health.

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