Today, Congressman Joe Pitts (R-PA), Chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee's Health Subcommittee, and Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ), Ranking Member of the Health Subcommittee, re-introduced legislation to help address a national shortage of pediatric doctors. The bipartisan legislation reauthorizes the Children's Hospitals Graduate Medical Education Payment Program which funds programs to train doctors at pediatric hospitals.
"I am proud to again work with Health Subcommittee Ranking Member Frank Pallone (D-NJ) on legislation to renew the Children's Hospital Graduate Medical Education program," said Congressman Pitts. "Children in our communities are counting on this program to train a future generation of pediatricians. This is a program with proven results and it is past time that we reauthorize CHGME and provide certainty to hospitals and doctors. The bill had overwhelming support in the last Congress, and we hope that this year the Senate will take it up and send it to the President."
Despite the program's success reversing declines in pediatric training programs in the 1990s, President Obama's fiscal year 2012 Budget eliminated funding for the program. The House overwhelmingly supported reauthorization of the program in the 112th Congress, passing stand alone legislation in September 2011 and also including the reauthorization in broader legislation in December 2012.
"Our children's health depends upon having well-trained pediatric doctors and nurses in hospitals and health care facilities across the country," said Congressman Pallone. "Since its introduction CHGME has been a remarkable success, effectively reversing declines in pediatric training programs, but without continued funding our children's health may be at risk. I am proud to co-introduce this important bill in the 113th Congress with Congressman Pitts to make sure we continue to prioritize and expand pediatric care and thus protect the health of our children."
Nationwide, 56 hospitals in 30 states participate in the program which funds medical school graduates, enhances hospitals' research capabilities and improves hospitals' ability to provide care to vulnerable and underserved children. In 2009, the program supported the training of 5,361 resident physicians.
In Pennsylvania, the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, St. Christopher's Hospital for Children and Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh all participate in the program.