Statement by N.A.C.H. President and CEO Lawrence McAndrews on Elimination of Funding for Pediatric Training in the President’s Budget

Children’s Teaching Hospitals Are Dismayed and Disappointed

For Immediate Release
February 14, 2011
Contact 
Gillian Ray Norida Torriente
703-797-6027/6059

(Alexandria, VA) — The National Association of Children’s Hospitals (N.A.C.H.) is dismayed and disappointed with President Obama’s recommendation to eliminate the Children’s Hospitals Graduate Medical Education (CHGME) program in fiscal year 2012. The proposed elimination of the CHGME program would have a dramatic negative effect on the pediatric workforce pipeline at a time when children’s timely access to pediatric care is already impaired.

The elimination of CHGME would challenge the nation’s ability to meet goals for children’s health care and pediatric medicine that the administration itself has set in the areas of primary care, patient safety, quality and innovation. Currently, the CHGME program helps fund the training of 5,400 full time equivalent residents annually. Less than one percent of all hospitals, independent children’s teaching hospitals that receive CHGME train 40 percent of all pediatricians, 60 percent of whom are primary care pediatricians. Pediatric teaching, clinical care and research work hand in hand at children’s hospitals, allowing physicians, residents, fellows and research scientists to advance innovations that improve quality, safety, efficiency and outcomes of patient care. 

Furthermore, the greatest workforce shortage in children’s health care is pediatric specialty care. Children’s hospitals receiving CHGME train 43 percent of pediatric specialists. The elimination of CHGME would exacerbate the current national shortage of pediatric specialists such as neurologists, surgeons and pulmonologists. These shortages result in delayed care and appointment wait times that can be as long as three months. What our nation cannot afford is to further jeopardize children’s access to physicians trained to meet children’s unique health care needs.

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. The program helped correct an unintentional inequity in GME financing. The program is currently funded at $317.5 million. Before the enactment of CHGME, the number of residents in children’s hospitals’ residency programs had declined over 13 percent. The enactment of CHGME has enabled children’s hospitals to reverse this trend and to increase their training by 35 percent.

CHGME is vital to the future of pediatric care in this country. Elimination of this program puts children’s health and health care at unnecessary risk.

#30

The National Association of Children’s Hospitals (N.A.C.H.) is the public policy affiliate of the National Association of Children’s Hospitals and Related Institutions. Representing more than 140 freestanding acute care children’s hospitals, freestanding children’s rehabilitation and specialty hospitals, and children’s hospitals organized within larger medical centers, N.A.C.H. addresses public policy issues affecting children’s hospitals’ missions of service to the children of their communities, including clinical care, education, research and advocacy.