MILWAUKEE (4/28/2011) - Children's Hospital of Wisconsin's resident education program is in jeopardy because of President Obama's recommendation to eliminate the Children's Hospitals Graduate Medical Education (CHGME) program in fiscal year 2012. Children's Hospital has a three-year pediatric residency program and a two-year pediatric dental program. In 2009, 97 residents completed the three-year pediatric program and 13 completed the two year dental program. That same year, more than 75 family practice residents rotated through the hospital as required by the pediatric training component of their program. Sixty percent of the residents who receive training at Children's Hospital remain in Wisconsin to care for children here in our community, providing primary care pediatrics, specialty care and emergency care to kids.
The proposed elimination of the CHGME program would have a dramatic negative effect on the pediatric workforce at a time when family's ability to find appropriate pediatric care already is impaired. The elimination of CHGME also would challenge the nation's ability to meet goals for children's health care and pediatric medicine that the administration itself has set in the areas of primary care, patient safety, quality and innovation. Research, pediatric teaching and clinical care can work hand in hand at children's hospitals, allowing research scientists, physicians, residents and fellows to advance innovations that improve quality, safety, efficiency and outcomes of patient care.
The greatest workforce shortage in children's health care is pediatric specialty care. Children's hospitals around the country receiving CHGME funds train 43 percent of pediatric specialists. The elimination of CHGME funding would exacerbate the current national shortage of pediatric specialists such as neurologists, surgeons and pulmonologists. These shortages result in delayed care and appointment wait times that can be as long as three months. "What our nation cannot afford is to further jeopardize children's access to physicians trained to meet children's unique health care needs," said Peggy Troy, MSN, RN, president and CEO of Children's Hospital.
Enacted in 1999, the CHGME program provides children's teaching hospitals with federal support comparable to what other adult-focused teaching hospitals receive through Medicare. The program helped correct an unintentional inequity. The CHGME program is currently funded at $317.5 million. Before the enactment of CHGME, the number of residents in children's hospitals' residency programs had declined more 13 percent. The enactment of CHGME has enabled children's hospitals to reverse this trend and to increase the number of residents.
"CHGME is vital to the future of pediatric care in this country. Elimination of this program puts children's health at unnecessary risk," said Troy.
Children's Hospital of Wisconsin, founded in 1894, is recognized as one of the leading pediatric health care centers in the United States. It is rated No. 3 in the nation by Parents magazine and named one of America's Best Children's Hospitals by U.S.News & World Report. Children's Hospital of Wisconsin is a Level I Pediatric Trauma Center verified by the American College of Surgeons. The hospital has been redesignated a Magnet hospital by the American Nurses Credentialing Center, a national honor that recognizes nursing excellence. Private, independent and not-for-profit, the hospital serves children and families from Wisconsin, the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, northern Illinois and beyond. Children's Hospital is the flagship member of Children's Hospital and Health System. In 2009, the health system invested more than $76 million into the community to improve the health status of children. For more information, visit the website at chw.org.