Washington, D.C. — The Children’s Hospital Association (CHA) thanks Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO) and Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK), chairmen of the Senate and House Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations Subcommittees, respectively, for including strong funding for Children’s Hospitals Graduate Medical Education (CHGME) in FY 2016 budget bills. The Senate Labor-HHS bill would increase funding for CHGME to $270 million annually, an increase of $5 million over current funding levels, while the House Labor-HHS bill would provide $265 million for CHGME, identical to the FY 2015 funding level and $165 million more than requested by President Obama.
Children’s hospitals thank Chairmen Blunt and Cole for demonstrating their commitment to strengthening the nation’s pediatric workforce pipeline. CHGME provides funding to independent children’s hospitals to support training of approximately half of all pediatricians and pediatric specialists in the United States — more than 6,000 annually. Strong CHGME funding is critical to the ability of children’s hospitals to train enough providers to keep up with demand at regional and national levels. Without adequate support for CHGME, the potential of exacerbating existing pediatric workforce shortages, particularly among specialists, increases, putting at children’s access to care at risk.
CHA also wishes to acknowledge the increased funding included by the House and Senate Subcommittees for biomedical research funded through the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The House Labor-HHS bill would increase the FY 2016 NIH budget to $31.1 billion, while the Senate version would increase it to $32 billion. The increased investment in the NIH would support advances in biomedical research and children’s health care.
We especially wish to recognize the efforts of Chairmen Blunt and Cole in supporting these important priorities for children’s health in a still challenging fiscal environment affected by sequestration. The spending caps established under sequestration present appropriators with many difficult choices among competing public health priorities and have forced proposed significant cuts to other worthy programs including notably the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality and the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation. CHA urges congressional leaders and the White House to work to identify a pathway that will allow for fiscally responsible relief from the sequestration spending caps so that important programs can continue to serve the public health needs of children and all Americans.