State lawmakers want to take control of UMC in Tucson

Posted: Updated:

TUCSON, Ariz. -- University Medical Center in Tucson is run by the University and the Board of Regents.

But if the state legislature has their way, UMC could be run by them.

A new measure in Phoenix is sending College of Medicine physicians into panic mode.

The Arizona flag waves outside the University Medical Center. Inside, board of directors are sounding off about what's going on to the north.

"We're certainly concerned the House will pass the bill, we hope they don't but they may and if they do it's up to the governor to determine if this legislation is worthy of her signature, we hope it is not," said UA Healthcare Board of Directors member Steve Lynn.

House Bill 2067 went undetected for the most part and caught the UA Healthcare Board by surprise when it was introduced.

The board says an amendment just added to the bill will do is remove control of the UA Healthcare system from the Board of Regents and the U of A. A new board would be established and appointed by the state legislature.

"They certainly did not come to the board and ask for our concurrence, our permission or even to inform us they were doing it," said Lynn.

And now the board is scrambling to do what it can to convince the governor not to sign the bill if it passes.

"On January 8 the people of Arizona and the entire nation saw what physicians of University Healthcare can do," said Dean of the College of Medicine, Steve Goldschmid, M.D.

The board says if such legislation passes, it could jeopardize UMC from holding on to well-known doctors like Peter Rhee and Michael Lemole, two men who were instrumental after the January 8 shooting.

"Unfortunately the proposed legislation will instantly reverse all that we've worked so hard to achieve today," said Lynn.

No doctors have specifically said they'd leave if the bill passes, but the regents say it'll make it hard to recruit or retain doctors.