LAS CRUCES, N.M. — Plans announced Monday call for a public-private partnership to create a medical school that would be privately financed and operated but located at New Mexico State University's main campus in Las Cruces.
The Burrell College of Osteopathic Medicine would produce a projected 150 doctors annually starting in 2016, and NMSU President Garrey Carruthers said that would help address the state's shortage of primary care physicians, especially in rural areas.
"This is an outstanding day for New Mexico," Carruthers said.
Carruthers said the project is a "private deal" that will not require any commitments for public money.
Santa Fe real estate mogul Daniel Burrell is financially backing the $85 million project and is the college's chairman. He said the project will both help New Mexicans' health care and spur the state's economy.
"We have an older population than the national average, a poorer population than the national average, more patients will come through (the Affordable Care Act) than in any other state on a per-population basis," Burrell said. "And we are one of the states with the least number of physicians to serve them. "
Under its agreement with NMSU, the college has agreed to a long-term lease at Arrowhead Center, NMSU's technology and business incubator. Construction of a building to house the college will begin within the next year.
An annual "brand-sharing" payment to the university will gradually rise over four years to $500,000.
The college will not be part of NMSU, and graduates won't receive NMSU degrees or be admitted through the university's admission process. However, the college's students would have access to NMSU housing, services and activities.
The University of New Mexico in Albuquerque already has a medical school.
The new college's tuition is set at $45,000 per year, compared with in-state tuition of $16,170 and out-of-state tuition at $46,347 at UNM's medical school.
Students will have two years of classes then spend two years in clinical clerkships in the industry before completing four years of residency at medical offices and hospitals across the country.
Burrell said the college has established relationships with hospitals in Las Cruces and El Paso, Texas, to apply for Medicare-funded residency slots, Burrell said.
Burrell said the college project is separate from his holdings in Santa Fe-based Rosemont Realty. Those include commercial properties in Albuquerque and other cities as well as an industrial garnet mine in Otero County.
The new college's dean is Dr. George Mychaskiw, a pediatric cardiologist who previously proposed the idea of a second medical school in New Mexico.