UPDATE: Wausau still candidate for medical school site
WAUSAU (WAOW) -
Aspirus says plans to build a medical school in Wausau are not feasible.
But the group leading the effort says Wausau is still the top choice for establishing the medical school.
Aspirus had been working with the Wisconsin College of Osteopathic Medicine (WCOM), trying to decide if establishing an osteopathic medical school on the Aspirus campus in Wausau would work.
On Tuesday, Aspirus announced the model for the school was not feasible.
Aspirus officials said their decision came down to two things: money and control. They said it would have cost $75 million to build the school, but five different medical providers would have had to contribute money.
They also said there were concerns about how the school would be run.
"With five health care systems who are competing, potentially some with each other—as owners of the school, in the governance, involved in the decision making of the school—it was felt that maybe the interest of the school itself and its students would become secondary," said Sid Sczygelski, Aspirus chief financial officer.
But WCOM leaders say it goes beyond that. Dr. Gregg Silberg, executive vice president and dean of WCOM, said the proposed model would not have allowed the medical school to be accredited.
Silberg also said WCOM is still working to establish the medical school in Wausau.
"We've soundly showed our interest in Wausau," said Silberg. "Just because we hit a bump in the road doesn't mean that we're going to give up."
Silberg said WCOM is talking with the city of Wausau and Marathon County about plans going forward.
Wisconsin is facing a shortage of physicians, according to the Wisconsin Hospital Association. This medical school is designed to help relieve that.