Chancellor: ECU Med School might be forced to close within 5 years

| February 6, 2015

Steve Ballard, ECUby Josh Birch, WNCT-TV, February 4, 2015.

The Brody School of Medicine is in serious financial trouble after several years of incurring millions of dollars in losses.

Just last year, Brody lost $14 million, due in large part to state restrictions on how they can receive federal money and the inability to collect debts.

ECU Chancellor Steve Ballard said if these loses continue, the medical school could close within five years.

“We can’t stay accredited if we have three more years of $14 million lost. We’ll be closed,” Ballard said.

Since the recession, Ballard said ECU as a whole has lost about $100 million due to state appropriation cuts.

In 1990, the state funded 53% of the Brody’s operating budget. But now, that number is just 21%.

Brody’s Dean Dr. Paul Cunningham remains optimistic about the future.

“We can actually change the world conceptually from the banks of the mighty Tar in Greenville, North Carolina,” Cunningham said. “And for that, we require investment.”

Cunningham said they are working to show lawmakers how unique the school is. He said they provide critical healthcare to under-served areas, and their graduates represent one in five physicians in the East.

He said 25% of physicians in the East are 60 years old or older, and that Brody plays a critically important role in replacing those physicians looking to retire.

With the average tuition at $16,576, Brody graduates leave the school with a debt of $103,165, which is much less than the $170,000 national average.

Groups like the Pitt-Greenville Chamber of Commerce stepped in to help Brody catch the attention of state lawmakers.

“When you look at the amount of money it pumps in, not just to the local economy but the statewide economy, and the fact that they employ 1800 employees,” said Trent McGee with the Chamber.

To remain accredited, Brody must keep 90 days cash in reserve, which amounts to $39.5 million. Currently, Brody only has 72 days cash in reserve, equaling $31.6 million.

The accrediting agency has warned Brody the financial troubles they have had in the past cannot continue.

Category: Healthcare, SPIN Blog

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  1. Frank Burns says:

    If the University cannot get their costs under control, they need to close the doors. Don’t come to the taxpayer expecting them to bail you all out.