The House Energy and Commerce Committee Tuesday approved by voice vote AHA-supported legislation, H.R. 297, to reauthorize the Children's Hospitals Graduate Medical Education (CHGME) program through fiscal year 2017. The program provides funding to help freestanding children's hospitals train pediatric residents. Committee Chairman Fred Upton, R-MI, seeks prompt House action on the bill. A similar measure passed the House last year, but was not taken up in the Senate.
Reps. Joe Pitts, R-PA, and Frank Pallone, D-NJ, last week reintroduced the legislation, which would authorize $330 million annually to support pediatric residency training at 56 freestanding children's hospitals in 29 states and Puerto Rico.
The CHGME program was created in 1999 to offer children’s hospitals a more level playing field with the teaching hospitals that treat adults and receive similar GME funding under Medicare. CHGMEfunded hospitals train more than 40% of the 58,000 general pediatricians in the U.S. – the primary care workforce for children.
Unlike Medicare’s GME program, CHGME operates under annual appropriations from Congress. CHGME’s current authorization has actually expired, but Congress has kept it alive by appropriating $268 million in funds for this fiscal year.