UW dental school deficit reaches $38M; leaders slowly fixing financial challenges

While Seattle-based University of Washington's dental school reduced its deficit total this year, the university's long-term deficit reached $38 million, according to The Seattle Times.

During the last fiscal year, UW School of Dentistry lost $2 million. However, this was less than a third of the total losses originally projected for the year. The university initially expected to lose $7 million.

The dental school's financial struggles are part of a larger issue. The university had a $325 million operating deficit in the last fiscal year. While shortfalls are typically offset by donors and investment returns, UW is looking for other alternatives to turnaround.

Rising salaries and faculty benefits were partly attributed to the deficit. UW School of Dentistry is the only dental school in the state.

UW School of Dentistry's deficit began accumulating in 2010. The faculty complained of the lack of transparency in regards to the budget. However, administrators blamed the low Medicaid reimbursement rates.

With problems mounting, dental school dean Jeal Berg resigned in October 2017. In April, James Jonson, interim dean, also stepped down. Former interim dean at Portland-based Oregon Health & Science University's dental school Gary Chiodo stepped in as UW School of Dentistry dean.

Over the next two years, Mr. Chiodo is expected to figure out financial challenges. He said none of the budget cuts will affect students. He is also working on making the budget more transparent among staff while revamping the faculty-run dental clinic.

In the future, the faculty-run dental clinic should generate more revenue. To accommodate for the university's total budget losses, UW is reaching out to the state legislature for more funding, specifically to pay salaries.

More articles on dentists:
Drs. Natalie Wong, Chad Gehani & more: 3 dentists making headlines
ADA establishes reimbursement code for Exparel: 3 things to know
American Academy of Implant Dentistry elects new president: 5 things to know

Copyright © 2024 Becker's Healthcare. All Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy. Cookie Policy. Linking and Reprinting Policy.