Governor approves 'Healthier Nebraska' funds

by Chuck Brown, UNMC public relations | April 03, 2012

Construction of a cancer research tower on the UNMC Omaha campus, a nursing and allied health education center in Kearney and a veterinary diagnostic center in Lincoln will receive state support thanks to budget bills signed Monday by Gov. Dave Heineman.

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Funds for a cancer research tower on the UNMC campus were included in budget bills approved by Gov. Dave Heineman.
The approved budget bills call for:
  • $50 million in state funds to support the construction of the cancer research tower;
  • $15 million for the Kearney nursing and allied health project; and
  • $50 million plus the debt service for a veterinary diagnostic center in Lincoln.

The cancer research tower is part of a $370 million cancer center campus that includes: a multidisciplinary outpatient clinic, a hospital tower with 108 beds dedicated to oncology patients and an ambulatory care clinic that provides outpatient space for programs outside of cancer.

For the good of the state

All three facilities are part of the University of Nebraska's "Building a Healthier Nebraska" initiative. All the funds will come from the state's cash reserve fund. A remainder of $341 million will be left in the fund after the "Healthier Nebraska" money is allotted.

"I want to thank Gov. Heineman for his support of a budget package that advances the priorities he has articulated for Nebraska: job creation and education," said NU President James B. Milliken. "The governor's support gives us the critical momentum we need to raise private dollars and move our 'Building a Healthier Nebraska' initiative forward. ... I applaud this far-sighted investment, which will benefit Nebraskans for years to come."

Dr. Maurer: Governor shows commitment to health

UNMC Chancellor Harold M. Maurer, M.D., echoed Millken's thoughts.

"On behalf of all Nebraskans, I thank Gov. Heineman for his approval of these bills," Dr. Maurer said. "With his support of these measures, the governor has shown that he is strongly committed to the health of our state's residents."

Broad support

Milliken and Dr. Maurer both thanked Nebraska lawmakers and others who expressed support of the initiative since the university publicly introduced it earlier this year.

"The positive reaction 'Building a Healthier Nebraska' has generated around the state has been gratifying and I could not be more appreciative," Milliken said.

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