SCRANTON — Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. Mike Stack visited The Commonwealth Medical College (TCMC) in Scranton Thursday afternoon to tour the facilities and discuss potential state funding for the college.
Steven J. Scheinman, M.D., TCMC president and dean discussed reasons funding from the state is vital to the college’s sustainability and potential growth.
“For us, the state funds are very important and helpful,” he said. “We’re different from other medical schools in that other schools have clinical revenues from a practice plan, they have a hospital supporting them, and a university backing them. We don’t have those things and are much more dependent on tuition.”
According to Scheinman, the college is working to expand programs to offer its students additional opportunities.
“Our medical school class is growing and our master’s degrees classes are growing,” he said. “We also have plans for additional degree programs. We’re going to outgrow the space in the building very soon. We’ve anticipated it and have had designs drawn up to renovate the fourth floor of the Scranton Intermediate School’s Manual Arts Building which was purchased by the college, but we need to identify the funding beforehand.
“We’re prepared to apply for state funds when they’re available. We’ve also been talking to donors and have an active campaign including naming opportunities in the TCMC building.”
The college has previously received $2 million in state funding from the commonwealth per year and Scheinman feels the institution is deserving of additional funding.
“I think it’s easy for us to justify an increase in our state funding,” he said. “We embrace a community mission differently from other medical schools. We really embrace a mission to the Commonwealth in admissions and we have all the community programs in this region.”
Stack has been pleased with the success of the programs at the college and plans to continue to offer his support.
“This is a great institution and it’s so important to the whole region and state,” he said. “I’m excited about the great things everybody on the team is doing here. We’re going to continue to work with them to make sure the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is invested here as it should be. I’m going to follow up and make sure the funding piece that has been targeted for TCMC happens.
“It’s very important that we continue to train the smart, young minds and, in the bigger picture, make sure affordable access to quality health care is available in this region,” he added.
Stack recognized the importance of passing a state budget as soon as possible.
“I’m going to continue to try to build the lines of communications between the legislature and the governor,” he said. “I think we all should be locked in a room until we can solve this problem. Being here today underscores why we need to pass a budget immediately.”
Reach Robert Tomkavage at 570-704-3941 or on Twitter @rtomkavage.