UTMB Performance Review

A state lawmaker from Galveston wants a performance review of the University of Texas Medical Branch, to see if layoffs announced recently are justified, and help the school get more state money. Houston Public Radio's Jim Bell reports.

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UTMB is cutting ten percent of its workforce -- 1300 jobs -- to stem big operating losses. Officials blame rising medical costs, growing numbers of patients with no insurance, shrinking government reimbursements and state budget cuts. State Representative Craig Eiland says UTMB is the default charity hospital for the whole state.

"UTMB has traditionally been the state's hospital of last resort, where indigents go for care and treatment. UTMB treats indigents from, usually, at least 250 of the 254 counties."

In addition, state prisons and county jails all over the state send their sick and injured inmates to UTMB. The hospital is deep in the red, and it's asking the state for more funding. Eiland says a performance review will prove the request is justified.

"We want to make sure that if and when we go to the legislature to request more money, we say look, this thing has been looked at topside and bottom, they're operating efficiently, and they're spending money wisely, therefore you can have confidence in providing more money to them."

Eiland says he's sent a formal request for a review to the Legislative Budget Board, and he hopes to get an answer soon, because UTMB is too important to the state to be in such poor financial shape. Jim Bell, Houston Public Radio News.

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