Gov. Bill Haslam asked lawmakers Tuesday to approve $7 million in state funding for Meharry Medical College to provide health care for the poor and uninsured and to administer a wellness program through historically black colleges in Tennessee.
The governor’s finance commissioner, Mark Emkes, outlined the plan to the Senate Finance Committee as part of changes in the state budget bill proposed by the Haslam administration.
Emkes said the state would provide $6 million in TennCare funds for Meharry to continue to offer uncompensated care for the poor and indigent. Those funds will be matched with more than $6 million in federal dollars.
“These funds are crucial to Meharry because they allow us to continue to serve Nashville and Tennessee’s underserved populations,” said Osei Mevs, Meharry senior associate vice president for external affairs. “We provide nearly $26 million in uncompensated care to the community, and these funds allow Meharry to continue its mission and dedication to our most vulnerable populations across the state.”
The budget amendment also includes $1 million for Meharry to continue its wellness program, which works at private, historically black colleges and universities to promote health and decrease chronic disease risks in the surrounding communities. Five schools across the state now participate in the program.