President Bush’s FY2009 budget request eliminates all funding, currently $301 million, for a federal program that trains 4,700 pediatricians and pediatric subspecialists each year at 60 independent children’s teaching hospitals. Nationwide Children’s Hospital stands to lose $8.5 million if Congress accepts the request.
For the past eight years, Nationwide Children’s has received funding through the Children’s Hospitals Graduate Medical Education (CHGME) program enabling the institution to train many of the pediatricians and subspecialists needed to care for the children of Ohio. Prior to adoption of the CHGME program, independent children’s hospitals were unintentionally excluded from federal support for physician training. CHGME has turned around the shortages of pediatric subspecialists that the field of pediatrics had seen for years.
"This program has been critical in our ability to train future pediatricians and specialists to meet the growing demand for children’s health care in Central Ohio,” said Steve Allen, MD, CEO of Nationwide Children’s Hospital.
Congress made the Children’s Hospitals GME program a priority since its inception eight years ago. It reauthorized the program at $330 million annually in 2006 and received $301 million last year from Congress for FY 2008.
“Ohio’s Congressional delegation has been largely responsible for the success of this vital program, and we will be counting on their leadership to reject this unwise proposal in the President’s budget,” said Allen.
The nation’s 60 independent children’s teaching hospitals comprise less than 1% of all hospitals yet train 35 percent of all pediatricians and half of all pediatric specialists.
CHGME has enabled the children's hospitals:
• to sustain and expand their residency programs, turning around a national decline in pediatric residencies, and
• to sustain and improve services, including services to low-income children in their communities and highly specialized services.