Senator Casey Introduces Reauthorization Of Children’s Hospital Program

Provides Proper Training for Those Who Care for Young Patients

WASHINGTON, DC— U.S. Senators Bob Casey (D-PA) and Johnny Isakson (R-GA) today introduced bipartisan legislation to reauthorize funding to the Children’s Hospital Graduate Medical Education (CHGME) program.  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.

“Children are not just little adults. They have very different medical needs and it is essential that we have a specialized workforce to care for them,” said Senator Casey. “Each year through this program, over 5,000 residents are trained to care for our youngest patients.”

Pennsylvania has three hospitals that would be affected by the cut. The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, the Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC and St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children would be significantly affected by the elimination of the Children’s Hospital Graduate Medical Education (CHGME) program, which provides funding to children’s hospitals for job training for physicians who care for children. These three hospitals received approximately $40 million in federal funding in 2010.

“By introducing this legislation to reauthorize CHGME funding, Senator Casey is protecting the health of our children who depend on the pediatricians, pediatric specialists and pediatric research scientists trained at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC and other children’s hospitals around the country. This vital funding ensures that we will continue to be able to train the pediatricians of tomorrow without scaling back important clinical services for our patients,” said Christopher A. Gessner, president of Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC and Children’s Community Pediatrics. 

 “We are grateful to Senator Casey for introducing legislation to protect the Children’s Hospitals Graduate Medical Education (CHGME) Program, which is critical to St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children’s ability to train the pediatricians and pediatric subspecialists needed to care for our patients,”  said Carolyn Jackson, CEO of St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children. “Elimination of this vital program would exacerbate the current shortage of pediatricians and pediatric subspecialists and hamper the ability of hospitals to meet the needs of the community.

“I look forward to working with Senator Casey and other CHGME advocates in Congress to restore this critical funding so that all children have access to the medical care they need."

Steven M. Altschuler, MD Chief Executive Officer of The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia said: “I applaud Senator Casey for making children’s healthcare a top priority in this challenging fiscal environment and for introducing legislation that would preserve a program that helps The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) meet the demands of over 1 million patient encounters each year.

“Senator Casey’s legislation would provide critical funding necessary for us to train physicians who will provide medical care to children.  The President’s decision to eliminate this program presents us with a tremendous challenge and without this program and a strong pediatric workforce, it may take a child longer to see a pediatrician.   Improving access to care was a fundamental goal of the 2010 health care reform law.   I join advocates from around the nation in urging Congress to approve Sen. Casey’s bill and restore funding for the Children’s Hospitals Graduate Medical Education (CHGME) program.  Without this funding, The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and other freestanding children’s hospitals will be less able to fulfill our goal of providing the most appropriate treatment to each child at the right place and time.”

The bipartisan bill introduced by Senator Casey and Senator Isakson to reauthorize funding for CHGME is S. 958, the Children’s Hospital GME Support Reauthorization Act of 2011.