Washington, DC — President Obama announced today the inclusion of $88 million in his proposed FY 2013 budget to train pediatricians through children’s teaching hospitals. While Children’s National applauds the president’s recognition of the Children’s Hospitals Graduate Medical Education (CHGME) program as a foundational part of children’s health care, this funding level is not enough to ensure that the supply of pediatricians keeps up with demand.
“We thank President Obama for reversing his stance on Children’s Hospitals Graduate Medical Education by including funding for this program in his proposed budget,” said Mark Batshaw, MD, Chief Academic Officer and Interim Chief Medical Officer, Children’s National. “Funding for pediatric training helps ensure all children get the care they need, and ensures comprehensive training for the next generation of pediatricians and specialists.”
In his FY 2012 budget, the President proposed eliminating the program, which supports the training of 45 percent of all pediatricians and 50 percent of all pediatric specialists. Funding for the program was included by Congress for FY 2012.
“Even at CHGME’s current annual funding level of nearly $270 million, children’s hospitals like Children’s National Medical Center struggle to train enough pediatricians and pediatric specialists to keep up with the growing demand,” explained Mark Wietecha, President and CEO of the Children’s Hospital Association, a national trade organization of 220 children’s hospitals. “Nationally, a growing child population is colliding with shortages of pediatric specialists and pediatricians resulting in impaired access to pediatric care, delayed care, longer wait times for appointments and greater travel distances for families. It is in our nation’s best interest not to shortchange our children’s health programs.”
The CHGME program supports the training of 5,600 pediatricians and pediatric specialists each year at 56 pediatric teaching hospitals. The president’s CHGME request represents a 67 percent reduction from the program’s FY 2012 funding level of $268 million.
“If the President’s funding level is adopted by Congress going forward, Children’s National Medical Center would receive two-thirds less support for our teaching program,” said Dr. Batshaw. “A funding cut of that size would translate to significantly fewer pediatricians trained to take care of kids in our community.”
Since its enactment more than 10 years ago, CHGME has increased the number of pediatric providers and improved children’s access to primary and specialty care. Annually Children’s National trains more than 200 pediatric residents.
“We are eager to work in a nonpartisan manner with our members of Congress to keep the program strong by ensuring full funding in FY 2013,” said Dr. Batshaw. “While the environment is a tough one, there is ample evidence to demonstrate the program is doing exactly what it was designed to do: help train pediatricians to provide the best care for kids. There is no better outcome than that.”
Contact: Paula Darte, Public Relations: 202-476-4500
Enacted in 1999 under the Clinton administration, the CHGME program provides children’s teaching hospitals with federal support comparable to what other teaching hospitals receive through Medicare. Since its enactment, CHGME has increased the number of pediatric providers and improved children’s access to primary and specialty care. The program also helped correct an unintentional inequity in GME financing. Prior to CHGME, independent children’s teaching hospitals received less than .5 percent of the level of federal GME support that adult teaching hospitals received.