Business and community leaders have joined Senator Kirk Watson to launch Healthy ATX, an education initiative to provide people with information about basic health care needs. The initiative could be met by bringing a medical school, new teaching hospital, comprehensive cancer care, additional behavioral health services, uniquely Austin health clinics, and other important resources to Central Texas.
At their August 15, 2012 meeting, the Central Health Board unanimously approved placing an item on the November 2012 ballot allowing Travis County voters to raise the health care tax to expand and upgrade our local healthcare. The funds would be used to support a medical school, physician, nurse and other healthcare provider training, trauma services, specialty care services such as cancer care, community wide health clinics, primary care, behavioral and mental healthcare, prevention and wellness programs, and to obtain federal matching funds for healthcare.
Benefits of the increased funding for healthcare include:
- Improving health care for you and your family;
- Creating a new medical school at UT-Austin to address our doctor shortage;
- Making Austin a center for medical excellence and expanding options for major illnesses, so you and your family will not have to travel to seek cutting-edge treatment;
- Creating 15,000 permanent jobs and $2 billion in economic activity annually;
- Saving taxpayers money by helping those without insurance avoid the emergency room;
- Ensuring that we more than double our money through a federal match to provide more health care for people and families across our community.
The Austin Chamber of Commerce supports the research focus of the Medical School initiative as a tool for economic growth. In addition, the Medical School is expected to increase physicians in the Central Texas marketplace which is currently underserved on a per capita basis.
The Chamber's Government Relations division works to ensure local, state and federal government policies are conducive to a strong regional business climate and that community decisions adequately support quality economic growth. Review the full Legislative Agenda.
Chamber Board urges voters to support the medical school.
On August 23, 2012, the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce voted to support Proposition 1 placed on the November 2012 ballot by the Central Health Board of Managers. If approved by Travis County voters, funding from the tax ratification will provide for local healthcare expansions and upgrades such as:
- support for a medical school,
- physician, nurses and other healthcare provider training,
- trauma services,
- specialty care services such as cancer care,
- a site for a new teaching hospital,
- community-wide health clinics,
- primary care, behavioral and mental healthcare, prevention and wellness programs, and
- to obtain matching funds.
What is Senator Watson's "10 in 10" initiative?
It's a plan announced in September 2011 by State Sen. Kirk Watson to address Central Texas' health needs and opportunities. It calls for achieving 10 important goals over the next 10 years. Those goals are to:
- Build a medical school.
- Build a modern teaching hospital.
- Establish modern, uniquely Austin health clinics.
- Develop a research institute and laboratories for public and private research.
- Launch a new commercialization incubator.
- Make Austin a center for comprehensive cancer care.
- Provide needed psychiatric care and facilities.
- Improve basic infrastructure and create a sense of place.
- Bolster the medical examiner's office.
- Solve the funding puzzle.
The 10 steps are not in order of importance, but the first two – build a new medical school and a new, modern teaching hospital – are initial steps that will allow us to achieve all of them.
Community Leaders Serving on "10 in 10" Organizing Committee
The effort is being led by an Organizing Committee representing institutions already pursuing the "10 in 10" vision. Committee members are respected community leaders and local experts in their fields. The committee has adopted a Decision Tree, a device to ensure that the hard questions are asked, and that we build on the answers instead of just jumping to conclusions. This will assure we answer questions about costs, approach and timing in the right way. The committee members will assess how things might be phased in and how our community assets and resources can be shared or leveraged.
The Organizaing Committee is comprised of:
Chairman, The Hon. Kirk Watson
Central Health, Tom Coopwood and Rosie Mendoza
City of Austin, The Hon. Lee Leffingwell
Seton Healthcare Family, Charles Barnett
St. David’s HealthCare, David Huffstutler
Austin Chamber of Commerce, Clarke Heidrick
Austin Community Foundation, Jeff Garvey
Lance Armstrong Foundation, Doug Ulman
Travis County, The Hon. Sam Biscoe
Travis County Medical Society, Tom McHorse and Guadalupe Zamora
UT Austin, William Powers Jr., and Steven Leslie
UT Southwestern, Sue Cox, and Greg Fitz; and
UT System, Francisco Cigarroa and Kenneth Shine
Over the past 15 years, small businesses have accounted for the majority of private-sector net job creation, says US SBA.