Supporting Children’s Hospitals and Combating Autism

Today, the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee unanimously voted to send two critically important pieces of legislation to the full Senate for consideration.  I was pleased to vote in favor of my bill, S. 958, the Children’s Hospital GME Support Reauthorization Act of 2011 (CHGME), and S. 1094, the Combating Autism Reauthorization Act (CARA), of which I am a cosponsor.

For over a decade, the CHGME program has provided children’s teaching hospitals with federal support for job training for physicians who care for children.  Each year through this program, over 5,000 residents are trained to care for our youngest patients.  This bill will ensure Pennsylvania hospitals have the resources required to meet the essential need for a specialized workforce to care for children.  Three Pennsylvania children’s hospitals receive this funding; the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC and St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children.

CARA will reauthorize the Combating Autism Act, the signature federal law on coordination of federal activities on autism research, diagnosis, treatment and surveillance that first became law in 2006.  This law is due to sunset at the end of September 2011, and it is critically important that we move quickly to ensure the continuation of these important federal initiatives to aid the approximately 25,000 Pennsylvanians living with autism.  This bill is a priority in the autism community and I look forward to speedy action by the full Senate and the House of Representatives.