With bipartisan leadership, the full Appropriations Committee of the U.S. Senate yesterday passed the FY2009 Labor Health and Human Service (Labor-HHS) Appropriations bill containing $310 million in funding for the Children’s Hospitals Graduate Education (CHGME) program. With this action, the Senate has rejected the President’s proposed elimination of this program that aims to provide children’s hospitals with support for training the next generation of pediatric physicians and specialists and brings $8.7 million for this purpose to Nationwide Children’s Hospital in the current year.
“Nationwide Children’s Hospital is grateful to Ohio’s Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and George Voinovich for (R-OH) championing children’s hospitals graduate medical education because they believe it is fundamental to everything in our pediatric health care system,” said Steve Allen, MD, chief executive officer of Nationwide Children’s Hospital. “We also thank the leadership of the Senate Labor-HHS Appropriations Subcommittee, Senate Labor-HHS Appropriations Subcommittee Chair Tom Harkin (D-IA) and Ranking Member Arlen Specter (R-PA) for their vote of confidence in our nation’s children’s hospitals.”
“The program’s support has been critical to addressing pediatric workforce shortages in areas such as child neurology and assuring access to quality care by training the next generation of physicians for children,” commented Allen. “This program has allowed us to increase our number of pediatric trainees by 70 percent and more than triple our residency and fellowship programs since 2001.”
The House Labor-HHS Appropriations Subcommittee passed $310 million for CHGME on June 19; however, the vote in the full Appropriations Committee was postponed yesterday. “Ohio Representatives Ralph Regula (R-Canton) and Deborah Pryce (R-Franklin County) have been long time leaders in Congress on behalf of CHGME and the Ohio delegation in Congress has been recognized for its strong support of this program,” said Allen.
The CHGME program is authorized to receive annual funding of $330 million. In the current fiscal year, CHGME will receive $301.7 million.
Sixty children’s teaching hospitals use CHGME funding to train pediatricians and pediatric subspecialists to care for children. Since the program began in 1999, the growth in CHGME hospitals’ training programs has accounted for more than 80 percent of all new pediatric subspecialty training programs and more than 65 percent of all new pediatric subspecialists in training. However, according to a survey by the National Association of Children’s Hospitals and Related Institutions, the nation continues to experience serious shortages of pediatric subspecialists in many subspecialties.