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On Heels of SCHIP Veto, President Advocates Eliminating Federal Funding for Training Children's Doctors

$301 Million Budget Cut Could Devastate the National Pediatric Workforce

ALEXANDRIA, Va., Feb. 1 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- President Bush's FY2009 budget request, to be officially released Monday, eliminates all funding for a children's hospitals program that trains 4,700 pediatricians and pediatric subspecialists each year at 60 independent children's teaching hospitals. Congress has made the Children's Hospitals GME program a priority since its inception eight years ago. By virtually unanimous votes, Congress reauthorized the program at $330 million annually in 2006 and appropriated $301 million last year.

"The request to eliminate funding to train the doctors that care for kids comes on the heels of the president's veto of the State Children's Health Insurance Program," said Lawrence McAndrews, president and CEO of the National Association of Children's Hospitals (N.A.C.H.). "I don't think the president could be any clearer about his intentions towards children's health care. 'Wrong' doesn't begin to describe his actions."

"Children's National Medical Center in D.C. is a children's teaching hospital that has used CHGME funding to place residents in community-based health programs that children from all over this region desperately need," said Edwin Zechman, CEO of Children's National Medical Center and Chairman of the N.A.C.H Board of Trustees. "In addition there are shortages in a handful of pediatric subspecialties that a cut to CHGME would only worsen."

The nation's 60 independent children's teaching hospitals train 35 percent of all pediatricians and half of all pediatric specialists. The breadth and severity of illness of children cared for in children's teaching hospitals helps prepare future pediatric physicians -- both generalists and specialists -- to care for children with a variety of illnesses that they are likely to encounter throughout their careers.

CHGME has enabled the children's hospitals:

-- to sustain and expand their residency programs, turning around a national decline in pediatric residencies before CHGME that would have continued without growth in teaching programs;

-- to improve and enrich their residency programs, integrating residents into quality and health information technology efforts and focusing on training experiences that address the service needs of the children across their communities and states; and

-- to sustain and improve services, including services to low-income children in their communities and highly specialized services.

CHGME follows the same principles and rules of Medicare GME support in order to enable children's hospitals to receive the same level of federal GME support that adult teaching hospitals receive through Medicare. An appropriation of $330 million would close the gap in federal GME funding between children's hospitals and adult hospitals

"Working with The American Academy of Pediatrics and the Association of Medical School Pediatric Department Chairs, we're eager to rally our children's hospital supporters in Congress to fully fund CHGME in FY2009," said McAndrews. "By doing so, Congress can make health care right for children and set a course to provide all children with appropriate and timely pediatric care that meets their needs."

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 135 freestanding acute care children's hospitals, freestanding children's rehabilitation and specialty hospitals, and children's hospitals organized within larger medical centers, it addresses public policy issues affecting children's hospitals' missions of service to the children of their communities, including clinical care, education, research and advocacy.

SOURCE National Association of Children's Hospitals
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