Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand today called to preserve funding for Blythedale Children’s Hospital Graduate Medical Education (CHGME) program, which ensures more medical training for professionals treating children. Blythedale Children’s Hospital in Valhalla depends on CHGME funds to train new doctors and continue to provide high quality care to the children in the Hudson Valley. However, the President eliminated this program in his 2012 budget proposal.
“The Children’s Hospital Graduate Medical Education program give hospitals like Blythedale the resources they need to train the next generation of doctors,” Senator Gillibrand said. “We cannot afford is to jeopardize children’s access to physicians trained to meet their unique needs.
It is critical that we maintain this successful program.”
“In addition to our mission of patient care, research, and advocacy, Blythedale Children’s Hospital helps to train the next generation of physicians in pediatric physical medicine and rehabilitation, pediatric orthopedics, and pediatric pulmonology. These physicians are dedicated to diagnosing and treating children with special medical conditions. The potential loss of CHGME funding would be devastating and would threaten the viability of these very valuable training programs,” said Larry Levine, President and CEO of Blythedale Children’s Hospital, who thanked Senator Gillibrand for her support and efforts in maintaining funding for CHGME.
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.
The program provides essential support for the future primary care workforce 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 the most important investments in strengthening children’s health care in America. As Congress considers government funding levels, Senator Gillibrand requested continued support for the Children’s Hospitals Graduate Medical Education program.