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June 21, 2006

Pryce Hails Passage of Bill Extending Payment System for Children’s Hospitals

Program ensures equity in federal payments

Washington, DC – Today, Congresswoman Deborah Pryce (R-Columbus) celebrated House passage of the Children’s Hospital Graduate Medical Education (CHGME) Support Reauthorization Act of 2006 ( H.R. 5574), legislation ensuring that our nation’s network of children’s hospitals are treated equitably in the federal GME funding program.

“Children’s hospitals around the nation are training America’s next generation of pediatric doctors, and the CHGME program ensures that our nation’s best and brightest medical students are drawn to pediatric medicine,” said Pryce. “Without this program, children’s hospitals would face an unsustainable financial disadvantage against other hospitals. Today’s vote ensures that these institutions will continue their teaching programs and other essential missions. The children's hospital GME program is an essential investment in children’s health, providing stability and cost-certainty for the future of children’s hospitals.”

Pryce was a leader in the effort to change a law which prior to 1999, provided physician training funding only to hospitals that treated Medicare patients, thus excluding children’s hospitals. Under the CHGME system, children’s hospitals train a large portion of the future pediatric workforce – almost 30% of pediatricians and 50% of pediatric specialists – and under the system, children’s hospitals have received over $300 million in training funding in 2006. H.R. 5574 extends this funding system through Fiscal Year 2007.

Columbus Children’s Hospital has benefited profoundly under the CHGME, and received roughly $9 million under the program last year. From 2000 to 2005 under CHGME, Columbus Children’s:

  • Increased physicians trained annually by 126%.
  • Increased residency and fellowship programs from 13 to 29, including starting programs in areas of local and national shortage such as pediatric endocrinology, surgical critical care, child neurology, and child abuse and neglect.
  • Initiated programs for primary care in underserved urban and rural communities.
  • Maintained its core missions of patient care and research. Because CHGME has provided for the costs of residency training just as the federal government has always done for adult hospitals, these improvements in education and training of physicians for children have not come at the expense of patient care or research.

H.R. 5574 now awaits consideration in the Senate.