WASHINGTON D.C. - U.S. Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Kit Bond (R-MO) today led a bipartisan effort to increase investment in our nation's pediatric workforce. In urging full funding for the Children's Hospitals Graduate Medical Education (CHGME) Program, the Senators pointed to the growing critical shortage of pediatricians and pediatric specialists.
"Congress enacted the Children's Hospital Graduate Medical Education program to ensure that more doctors have the training they need to treat our nation's children," Brown said. "It is time to fund this successful program at the level that Congress always intended. It isn't just the right thing to do, it's the smart thing to do."
"Access to timely health care is critical to ensuring a bright and healthy future for our children," said Bond, who created the original CHGME program in 1999. "The CHGME program ensures our nation will have the pediatricians and pediatric specialists needed to provide the timely, unique care our children need and I am pleased to join with a bipartisan group of my colleagues in this effort."
The Senators sent a letter to Senate Appropriations Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Subcommittee Chairman Tom Harkin (D-IA) and Ranking Member Thad Cochran (R-MS) requesting the committee fund fully the Children's Hospitals Graduate Medical Education (CHGME) Program in fiscal year 2011. The Senators pointed out that the support the CHGME program provides to independent children's hospitals is vital as these hospitals train 35 percent of all pediatricians, 50 percent of all pediatric specialists and treat more than half of all seriously ill children.
"Senator Brown was a founding sponsor of the Children's Hospital GME program," stated Dr Arnold Strauss, Chief of Pediatrics at Cincinnati Children's Hospital. "Senator Brown has been a strong advocate from the beginning, and year after year, he makes child health a priority. Senator Brown leads the way to ensure that our nation's pediatricians and pediatric specialists receive education and training that assure optimal care of all America's children."
"Senator Bond has long been a dedicated advocate for children in Missouri and across the country," said Dr. F. Sessions Cole, Chief Medical Officer at St. Louis Children's Hospital. "Through his ongoing support of CHGME, he has worked to insure that the long-term health needs of our children remain a priority."
Created by Congress in 1999, the CHGME program allows children's hospitals to sustain, improve, and expand teaching and training programs. As a result, these hospitals are working to reverse a decline in pediatric residencies that began in the 1990s. Most recently, a survey by the National Association of Children's Hospitals and Related Institutions found that significant doctor shortages in many pediatric specialties is delaying the ability of many children to gain access to timely care. These shortages contribute to vacancies in children's hospitals that often last 12 months or more.
In sending the letter, Bond and Brown were joined by a bipartisan group of 38 Senate colleagues who signed the letter.
Find the full text of the letter HERE.
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