WASHINGTON – The House of Representatives passed Rep. Joe Pitts’ (R-16) legislation to help train pediatricians, Tuesday. The bipartisan legislation, H.R. 1852, reauthorizes the Children’s Hospital Graduate Medical Education (CHGME) Payment Program to help keep well-trained doctors in the pipeline by maintaining existing hospital graduate medical education programs.
“Today, the House extended a critical program that is helping train doctors to treat children,” said Rep. Pitts. “The loss of CHGME would be devastating to the supply of pediatricians. Since the creation of this program, the number of pediatricians trained has increased by 35 percent. The program has been proven effective and we shouldn’t lose it now.”
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. H.R. 1852 maintains level funding for the program, providing $330 million to hospitals over the next five years.
“I’d like to thank the Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ), the Ranking Member of the Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee, for his leadership on this issue,” said Rep. Pitts. “It has been a bipartisan effort from the beginning and we will continue working together until the President signs our bill.”
Over the summer, Rep. Pitts met with Anna Lipsman, a 16th District resident who has been undergoing treatment at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP). Anna’s mother, Elaine Lipsman provided the following statement on reauthorization of the CHGME program:
“My daughter, Anna, was diagnosed with leukemia last year. At 10 years old, she has experienced a medical journey that no child should have to ever go through. What has gotten Anna and our family through this experience is the incredible doctors at CHOP who not only provided us the very best treatment options for Anna’s cancer but also alleviated many of our fears by educating us about what to expect along the way. The residents and fellows were especially helpful in not only focusing on Anna’s daily treatment regiment but also getting to know Anna and what would make her most comfortable during this hospital experience.
“The CHGME program is designed to train the next generation of pediatric specialists, some who may choose to become a pediatric oncologist. We need to continue to fund this important training program so we don’t exclude the best and the brightest. Without the CHGME program to support this vital training, kids like Anna won’t have the opportunity for the very best care that they deserve.”
Dr. Gabrielle Marein-Efron, a recent graduate from CHOP, is available to answer questions about her participation in the CHGME program and its importance to pediatrics. She is available by phone this afternoon and tomorrow, (443) 326-4932.
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.