Lucio Masthead Graphic
February 10, 2004
Contact: Doris Sanchez
(512) 463-0127

AUSTIN, TX--The Legislative Budget Board (LBB) yesterday approved $9 million in funding for the Regional Academic Health Center (RAHC). These funds are in addition to the $9 million appropriated during the 78th legislative session totaling $18 million for the 2004-05 biennium.

Sen. Eddie Lucio, Jr. said: This critical funding means we can continue to improve the health care outlook for a four-countywide area--Cameron, Hidalgo, Starr and Willacy counties. Without this $9 million, we could not have provided the clinical training for third-year medical students at our Harlingen facility that is part of the development process of the RAHC. Even more important, these are the future doctors of Texas and perhaps some will become this area's permanent doctors.

Equally critical to improving and advancing our health care is the ability through these funds to purchase laboratory equipment for the RAHC's Edinburg facility. We were relying on the additional $9 million to ensure that we were able to hire faculty, staff and research scientists for the Edinburg laboratories that perform biomedical research.

All of us must work in a cooperative spirit here in South Texas so that the leadership approves of our budget request for the development of the RAHC, which will one day mean a full-fledged medical school one day. I applaud and commend the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, the Speaker of the House and members of the LBB for following through with their support for the health care needs of our four counties.