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Casey Seeks to Prevent Cuts to Funding for PA Children’s Teaching Hospitals

Casey Seeks to Prevent Cuts to Funding for PA Children’s Teaching Hospitals
Hospitals in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh Also Voice Opposition
WASHINGTON, DC— U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) today called on President Obama not to eliminate funding that benefits Pennsylvania’s children’s hospitals.  The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC and St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children would be hit by the elimination of the Children’s Hospital Graduate Medical Education (CHGME) program, which has provided funding to allow for children’s hospitals to provide job training for physicians who care for children.  
“In Pennsylvania, we have three hospitals who participate in this important program, including the Children’s Hospital in Philadelphia which has the largest program in the United States,” wrote Senator Casey.  “While I share your commitment to expanding the primary care workforce, this cannot be done at the expense of training those physicians who care for our children.”

For over a decade, the CHGME program has provided children’s teaching hospitals with federal support comparable to what other teaching hospitals receive through Medicare.  Through this funding, over 5,000 residents are trained every year.  Pennsylvania has three hospitals that would be affected by the cut: The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia; Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC and St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children.  These three hospitals received almost $40 million in federal funding in 2009.
“I am deeply concerned about the elimination of the Children’s Hospitals Graduate Medical Education (CHGME) Program which is crucial to training the next generation of pediatricians.  Our nation is already experiencing a significant shortage of pediatricians and pediatric specialists.  If this program is eliminated,  we will most certainly expand the gap between children’s medical needs and our ability to meet them in the future,” said Steven M. Altschuler, M.D., chief executive officer at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. “I look forward to being part of the debate and working aggressively alongside Senator Casey and other child health advocates in Congress to restore the funds for this vital program so that all children can obtain the necessary medical care they deserve.”
“Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC is the only pediatric training program in western Pennsylvania and we train 100 percent of the pediatricians, pediatric specialists and research scientists. About half stay in this region to practice pediatrics; the rest take positions as pediatricians, specialists and scientists all over the country,” said Dena Hofkosh, MD, MEd, director of the Pediatric Residency Program at Children’s Hospital and professor of Pediatrics  at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. “Without CHGME funding, Children’s Hospital will be forced to decide whether to cut programs and services for our patients or training programs for our physicians.  Either way, we all lose.”
Senator Casey plans to introduce legislation to reauthorize the CHGME program next month.

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