Funding for Pediatric Physician Training In Jeopardy
We wanted to alert you to the fact that President Obama's FY 2012 budget eliminates all funding for the Children's Hospitals Graduate Medical Education Program (CHGME), which supports physician training programs at children's hospitals and helps ensure an adequate supply of pediatricians and pediatric subspecialists. The elimination of this program would have a direct and negative impact on children's access to timely pediatric care. Children in New England and across the country already face long wait times to see some pediatric subspecialists, such as pulmonologists, neurologists and surgeons; eliminating funding to train the next generation of pediatric providers would further jeopardize children's ability to access specialty care.
History of CHGME
The CHGME program was started in 1999 to help support pediatric resident training programs in children's hospitals, which are generally not eligible for the Medicare training funding that hospitals which treat adults receive. Last year, the program provided funding to 56 freestanding children's hospitals across the country. While these hospitals make up just one percent of all the nation's hospitals, they train 40 percent of general pediatricians and 43 percent of pediatric specialists.
New England has two freestanding children's hospitals that receive CHGME funding: Connecticut Children's Medical Center (CCMC) and Children's Hospital Boston (CHB). All New England states, however, benefit from this program. Physicians trained at CCMC and CHB practice in every New England state and children from across the region receive care at these large and esteemed pediatric medical centers.
Impact of the Cut and Next Steps
Eliminating the $317.5 million CHGME program would erase half of all pediatric training dollars, undermining children's hospitals' ability to sustain the pediatric workforce pipeline and provide timely specialty care to sick children. Additionally, the law that established CHGME is up for reauthorization this year. If the program is not reauthorized, funding for pediatric medical training beyond FY 2012 could also be at risk . Senator Kerry (D - MA) recently mentioned to press that he is working with Senator Robert Casey (D - PA) on a bill to reauthorize and fund the CHGME program before it expires at the end of September.
Access to pediatric care is an issue that many of you cite as a problem. Please call your members of Congress and urge them to preserve CHGME funding in the FY 2012 budget and support a strong reauthorization of the program this year. Please click here for contact information for the New England delegation.
NEACH will keep you informed about opportunities to help preserve this critical program. If you have any questions about this issue, please feel free to contact me at 617-275-2929 or firstname.lastname@example.org.