A proposed Wisconsin College of Osteopathic Medicine would open in 2015 at the former St. Coletta property in Jefferson, helping to solve the state’s looming doctor shortage, a key organizer said Friday.
A plan to build the school in Wausau fizzled last year. Shortly afterward, the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee announced plans for new campuses in central Wisconsin and Green Bay in 2015.
Dr. Gregg Silberg, dean of the proposed osteopathic school, said the state still needs a third medical school to address the doctor shortage.
A Wisconsin Hospital Association report in 2011 predicted a shortage of nearly 2,200 doctors by 2030.
The Medical College of Wisconsin’s expansion “will help, but it’s not going to come close to meeting the entire need,” Silberg said.
The UW School of Medicine and Public Health is in Madison.
Osteopathic doctors are like other doctors, but they focus on disease prevention and sometimes do hands-on manipulations. Many practice in rural areas.
“We’re very happy to have them,” said John Molinaro, chairman of the Jefferson County Board of Supervisors. “This will be a terrific economic development impact to the county.”
The college expects to receive provisional accreditation by next year, Silberg said.
The school would train 100 students a year starting in August 2015, for an eventual total of about 400 students overall, he said. Tuition would be about $40,000 a year.
Residency programs would be developed to provide further training required before graduates can practice on their own.
Renovating some former St. Coletta facilities and constructing at least one new building would cost about $85 million, Silberg said. The site is now called Sanctuary Ridge.
Funding would come from private donors, foundations, governments, health systems or other parties, Silberg said. He wouldn’t name specific sources.
“We have partnerships, and we are working to develop more partnerships,” he said.
Last year, the Aspirus health system in Wausau dropped a plan to partner with four other health systems and finance most of the school in Wausau.
A site in southeast Wisconsin was previously proposed.
The Jefferson City Council this week approved a $500,000 incentive payment for the school.
The County Board this month passed a resolution supporting the plan, with no financial commitment. The Jefferson County Economic Development Consortium has also backed the idea.