Board of regents approves of UA medical school external probe

During an Aug. 19 meeting, the Arizona Board of Regents said it plans to hire an external expert to evaluate a number of its concerns about the University of Arizona's two medical schools, Tucson.com reports.

The medical schools — the University of Arizona College of Medicine-Phoenix and the University of Arizona College of Medicine-Tucson — are separately accredited but governed by the same leadership, according to the report.

In June, the Arizona Medical Association called for an investigation of the University of Arizona College of Medicine-Phoenix. In August, the Arizona Board of Regents launched a separate investigation.

Board Chair Greg Patterson said he hopes the external review will be completed by the end of the year.

"It's going to be a broad look at what's going on," Mr. Patterson said, according to the report. "We're doing a comprehensive evaluation, so it's going to be full 360s of management style, structure, etc. Everybody is concerned with how public money was spent, and we have no reason to believe it was spent inappropriately."

In June 2015, the Liaison Committee on Medical Education visited the Phoenix school and cited four areas of non-compliance. After numerous changes, the medical school received "provisional" accreditation status from the LCME in February.

Earlier this year, there was a mass exodus of leaders, including Dean Stuart Flynn, MD, who departed in April to serve as the dean at a new medical school in Texas. Five others also departed, four of whom headed to Dr. Flynn's new school. The external probe will include exit interviews with the six leaders who left.

The external probe may also investigate Joe G.N. "Skip" Garcia, MD, senior vice president of health sciences at Tucson-based Arizona Health Sciences Center. As part of his role, Dr. Garcia — who oversees all of the University of Arizona's health colleges, including the medical schools — frequently travels between Phoenix and Tucson, according to Tucson.com. A recent report in The Arizona Republic claimed he traveled between the cities 56 times over three years and racked up $475 or more per day on chauffer-driven limo costs.

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