Brown Leads 19 Senators on Letter Urging Support for Children's Hospital Workforce Training Program

While Serving as Ranking Member of Health Subcommittee in U.S. House, Brown Authored First Bill to Create Children’s Hospitals Graduate Medical Education Program

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) led 19 other senators today on a letter to Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) urging him to preserve funding for the Children’s Hospitals Graduate Medical Education (CHGME) program, which ensures more medical training for professionals treating 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. The President’s fiscal year 2012 budget proposed elimination of the CHGME program.

“Children’s hospitals from Cincinnati to Columbus to Cleveland—and across our country—depend on CHGME funding to ensure that their doctors have the right training to treat sick children,” Brown said. “Ohio families and their children count on receiving the highest quality care at our state’s top-notch children’s hospitals—and that means receiving care specially targeted to their needs.”

“While serving in the U.S. House of Representatives, it was a conversation with Akron Children’s Hospital’s President, Bill Considine, that inspired me to write the original CHGME bill. Since then, dozens of hospitals and families have benefited from this important and successful program, which is why preserving it in the funding bills for 2011 and 2012 is so critical,” Brown continued.

The letter was also signed by Senators John Kerry (D-MA), Robert P. Casey, Jr. (D-PA), Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Barbara Feinstein (D-CA), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), Herb Kohl (D-WI), Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), Carl Levin (D-MI), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Al Franken (D-MN), Daniel Akaka (D-HI), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Jack Reed (D-RI), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), and Debbie Stabenow (D-MI).

President Obama’s FY 2012 budget proposal calls for an elimination of CHGME funding. 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 children to gain access to timely care. These shortages contribute to vacancies in children's hospitals that often last 12 months or more.

Ohio is home to seven institutions that have depended upon on CHGME funds. A list of these facilities and funds they have received in prior years from the CHGME program can be found below.

SUMMARY OF GRADUATE MEDICAL EDUCATION PAYMENTS TO FREESTANDING CHILDREN'S HOSPITALS IN OHIO 2000-2009

Hospital

City

FYs 2000-05

FY 2006

FY 2007

FY 2008

FY 2009

Children’s Hospital Medical Center

Cincinnati

$58,257,868.46

$10,608,334.41

$10,488,456.09

$10,752,664.18

$11,388,967.80

Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital

Cleveland

$23,859,653.03

$5,147,187.55

$5,496,259.42

$5,744,572.21

$5,876,075.53

Children’s Hospital Medical Center of Akron

Akron

$18,076,294.81

$3,778,155.83

$3,486,526.52

$3,283,974.59

$3,565,615.85

Cleveland Clinic Children’s Hospital for Rehabilitation

Cleveland

$164,499.01

$32,311.54

$28,939.78

$23,018.48

$22,644.83

Nationwide Children’s Hospital

Columbus

$43,136,386.13

$8,481,341.13

$8,631,536.87

$8,505,240.44

$8,241,126.77

Children’s Medical Center

Dayton

$15,099,731.52

$3,029,808.09

$2,694,398.29

$2,643,051.29

$2,809,323.59

Toledo Children's Hospital

Toledo

$6,787,659.44

$1,371,729.08

$1,208,054.47

$0.00

$0.00

TOTAL

$165,382,092.40

$32,448,867.63

$32,034,171.44

$30,952,521.19

$31,903,754.37

The full letter to Majority Leader Reid follows.

Dear Majority Leader Reid:

 

The Senate has provided long-standing bipartisan support for the Children’s Hospitals Graduate Medical Education (CHGME) program.  While we appreciate the difficult budgetary climate and the pressure to reduce discretionary spending, we believe that the proposal to eliminate the CHGME program that is included in the President’s FY2012 budget would be detrimental to our nation’s goals of strengthening the primary care workforce and ensuring timely access to necessary, high quality specialty care.  We ask for your continued support in maintaining this important federal program through negotiations regarding appropriations for the FY2011 and the FY2012 budget.

 

Children’s Hospitals GME was enacted in late 1999 to provide critically important federal GME support for freestanding children’s hospitals, similar to the support that other teaching hospitals receive through Medicare GME.  It has been a major success, enabling children’s hospitals to reverse a decline in pediatric residencies in the years before CHGME and to sustain and grow their teaching programs in response to local and national needs, without sacrificing clinical care.

 

The program provides essential support for the future primary care workforce for our nation’s children and for pediatric specialty care, which is the greatest workforce shortage in children’s health care.  CHGME hospitals train 40 percent of all pediatricians, almost 60 percent of whom are in general pediatrics.  The program also supports the training of 43 percent of the nation’s pediatric specialists and the majority of pediatric researchers.

 

CHGME is a relatively small program, receiving $317.5 million in FY 2010, but it is one of our most important investments in strengthening children’s health care in America.  Again, we understand that these are tough budgetary times, but what our nation cannot afford is to further jeopardize children’s access to physicians trained to meet their unique needs.

 

We thank you for your efforts to date to ensure stable CHGME funding for the remainder of fiscal year 2011.  As Congress considers government funding levels, we respectfully request that the Senate continue its history of strong support for the Children’s Hospitals Graduate Medical Education program and ask for the continuation of stable funding in the FY2011 and the FY2012 appropriations bills for this vital program. Thank you.

 

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