Hospitals are ready to take on the challenges presented by changing health care landscape
Apr 2, 2012
One hundred and forty representatives recently urged House appropriators to reject the president’s “woefully inadequate” fiscal year (FY) 2013 budget request of $88 million for the Children’s Hospitals Graduate Medical Education (CHGME) program, which trains medical residents.
“In FY 2012 Congress continued its long history of bipartisan support for CHGME by appropriating funding for CHGME at $265 million,” they wrote House Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations Chairman Denny Rehberg, R-MT, and Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-CT, the panel’s ranking member. But the president’s proposed funding level for FY 2013 would “put at risk the gains that have been achieved under CHGME and threaten the pediatric workforce pipeline,” the lawmakers said in their March 20 letter. “Even at CHGME’s current annual funding level, children’s hospitals struggle to train enough pediatricians and pediatric specialists to keep up with the growing demand.”
While less than 1% of all hospitals, those hospitals that receive CHGME funding train more than 45% of general pediatricians and 51% of pediatric specialists, the letter noted. They also train nearly 45% of the nation’s 38,000 pediatric subspecialists. Also, more than 60% of the nation’s pediatric emergency physicians and all pediatric surgeons are trained in children’s hospitals receiving CHGME support.
Fifty-six freestanding children’s hospitals in 30 states participate in CHGME, created by Congress in 2000 to support graduate medical education programs at children’s hospitals that train resident physicians, enhance research capabilities and care for poor and medically underserved children in rural and inner-city areas.
The CHGME program was intended to offer these hospitals a more level playing field with the teaching hospitals that treat adults and receive similar GME funding under Medicare. Unlike Medicare’s GME program, CHGME operates under an annual appropriation from Congress, making it more vulnerable to potentially deep cuts or zero funding.
The number of residents trained at children’s teaching hospitals had declined by 13% during the 1990s, the decade before Congress enacted CHGME. During the program’s first decade of operation – from 2000 to 2009 – the number of residents in training rose by 35%.
The House lawmakers called the program a “critical investment in our country’s medical workforce and in our children.”
Read the lawmakers’ letter by going to “Advocacy Issues” at www.aha.org, scrolling to “Tools & Resources” and clicking on “Letters.”
The following representatives signed the letter of support for CHGME.
Spencer Bachus (R)
Teri Sewell (D)
Raul Grijalva (D)
Mike Ross (D)
Joe Baca (D)
Karen Bass (D)
Advocacy and Public Policy