Washington, DC- Today, U.S. Senators Bob Casey (D-PA) and Johnny Isakson (R-GA) announced that their bipartisan legislation, The Children’s Hospital GME Support Reauthorization Act of 2013, has cleared final passage in the House and will now head to the President’s desk. The bill reauthorizes the Children’s Hospitals Graduate Medical Education (CHGME) program investing $300 million annually in children’s hospitals over the next five years.
“Reauthorizing this program will help some of our country’s best medical centers train physicians and enable families and children to receive better care. I’m pleased that the House came together in a bipartisan fashion to move this legislation onto the President’s desk,” Senator Casey said. “Pennsylvania’s children’s hospitals are some of the best in the country. Passing this bill will allow these hospitals to continue their lifesaving work and remain a driver of our economy.”
“Investing in our pediatric workforce and health care facilities through the Children's Hospital Graduate Medical Education program is critically important to ensuring the health of our children in Georgia and across the country,” said Senator Isakson. “I’m pleased to see the House clear the way for this vital measure to become law in order to continue our commitment to protecting the health of our children and families who depend on the services and training provided by our children’s hospitals, pediatricians and pediatric specialists.”
The Children’s Hospitals Graduate Medical Education (CHGME) program provides freestanding children’s hospitals with federal graduate medical education (GME) support similar to the funding that other teaching hospitals receive through Medicare. The program was first enacted by Congress in 1999 with bipartisan support, and has been reauthorized twice since then, each time again with broad bipartisan support. The program provides funding to about 55 freestanding children’s hospitals in 30 states to support the training of pediatricians and other residents.
The program has a proven track record of success and represents a high-value investment in children’s health care. Prior to the enactment of CHGME in late 1999, the number of residents in children's hospital residency programs had declined over 13 percent, according to the American Board of Pediatrics. Since the enactment of CHGME, children’s hospitals have reversed this trend, increasing their training slots by 45 percent. Today, though they represent 1 percent of all hospitals, freestanding children’s hospitals train over 45 percent of general pediatricians, 51 percent of all pediatric specialists and the majority of pediatric researchers.
The Children’s Hospital GME Support Reauthorization Act of 2013 will reauthorize the program for five years at $300 million a year. The legislation also makes important changes to the program by giving the Secretary authority to include in the program a small number of freestanding children’s hospitals who have been ineligible to participate in the past for technical reasons. First, the bill allows the Secretary to use a portion of the funds appropriated over $245 million for these children’s hospitals that train pediatric providers and meet the same general qualifications as existing participants but currently do not qualify for Medicare GME or CHGME. The amount of this pool in a given year would be 25% of enacted CHGME funding over $245 million, up to a maximum of $7 million, and hospitals would have to undergo a normal application process.