Medical school moving forward despite loss of funds

POSTED: 5:03 PM Jan 29 2014   UPDATED: 10:03 PM Jan 29 2014

A proposed medical school in Southwest Virginia is facing another hurdle after the Washington County, Virginia Board of Supervisors opted to not extend an agreement.

Originally the county said it would commit $7.5 million to the school, but now the school is going to have to look for more money.

This comes after the Washington County, Virginia Board of Supervisors failed to make a motion to extend the contract with the school. "Some of our board members were concerned that it's an entirely different ball game than when the first concept came out. We have different colleges talking about it, we have a different amount of money now," says Board Chair Phillip McCall.

Tariq Zaidi is the man leading the way for the school; he says the decision by the board will not derail any school plans. "Really, it's not going to slow the project down any," he said.

The school is moving forward with the $25 million committed from the Virginia Tobacco Commission, and the town of Abingdon continues to support the project with $7.5 million dollars.

The school's leader says the support from Emory & Henry College and the University of Virginia proves the school has momentum. "W believe that the way we're talking an approach to this is to bring quality education, bring the highest quality physicians in an allopathic school of medicine to the region," Zaidi said.

The school says it's still on track to fill a need of more doctors in the region,."If Medicaid expansion is approved in the state of Virginia, you are looking at 450,000 additional people enrolled in healthcare with access to insurance. In Southwest Virginia, that's an extra 200,000 folks," adds Zaidi.

The next big step for the school will come in May, when school leaders meet with the Tobacco Commission to talk about the status of the project.

McCall tells us only two of the seven current board members were on the board when the original medical school agreement was put to a vote.