U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), along with 15 other senators, today sent a letter urging Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) Administrator Mary Wakefield to allocate ample funding for Children's Hospital Graduate Medical Education (CHGME) program in the 2012 operating budget. In the letter, the senators requested that Wakefield protect America's children and oppose any attempts to defund this critical program.
Brown met today with the leadership from several of Ohio children's hospitals, including Cleveland's Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital, Columbus's Nationwide Children's Hospital, and Cincinnati's Children's Hospital. The hospital leaders all urged Brown to protect the CHGME program and discussed the importance of CHGME to their missions. Brown also introduced legislation Thursday to reauthorize the CHGME program.
"It's critical that we reduce our deficit, but we shouldn't do it on the backs of medical professionals and the sick children they treat," Brown said. "The Children's Hospitals Graduate Medical Education program was created to ensure that more doctors have the training they need to treat our nation's children. This successful program should be funded so that critical work can continue at Ohio institutions, and I will continue to fight to ensure the highest-quality care for Ohio's children."
While serving in the U.S. House of Representatives, Brown authored the Children's Hospitals Education and Research Act of 1998, which first proposed the CHGME program. In March, Brown led 19 other senators in a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) urging him to preserve the funding.
Ohio is home to seven institutions that have depended upon on more than $30M annually in CHGME funds.
The full text of the letter--also signed by Senators Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Robert P. Casey, Jr. (D-PA), John Kerry (D-MA), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Barbara Feinstein (D-CA), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Herb Kohl (D-WI), Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Chris Coons (D-DE), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), and Carl Levin (D-MI)--is below.
May 12, 2011
The Honorable Mary Wakefield
Health Resources and Services Administration
Department of Health and Human Services
5600 Fishers Lane
Rockville, MD 20857
Dear Administrator Wakefield:
We urge you to allocate sufficient funding for Children's Hospitals Graduate Medical Education (CHGME) to maintain the stability of the program as you determine the operating budget for the Bureau of Health Professions within the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). The CHGME program is a critically important program that works to strengthen our pediatric workforce and improves the health of children in every state. As such, the CHGME program has received long-standing bipartisan support since its creation in 1999. Unfortunately, the funding level for the CHGME program was not specifically included in the recently-enacted appropriations legislation -- leaving the fate of this program in your hands.
In Fiscal Year 2010, the CHGME program provided funding for the 56 freestanding children's hospitals throughout the country. These children's hospitals train 40 percent of the country's general pediatricians and 43 percent of the pediatric specialists. If funding for this program were reduced or eliminated, the ability to adequately and fully train pediatricians would be in jeopardy.
Prior to the establishment of the CHGME program, our nation experienced a significant decline in pediatric residencies. Since its enactment in 1999, this program has enabled children's hospitals to reverse some of the declines we experienced and to increase their training by 35 percent. However, despite some of our important advances, the shortage of pediatric doctors still persists in many parts of our country. These shortages delay the ability of children to gain access to timely care. No child should have to wait days, weeks, or months to see a doctor.
We look forward to working with HRSA to ensure sustained and adequate funding for the CHGME program so that children's health is not jeopardized.