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News Releases

For Immediate Release

Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh to Receive Strong Federal Support to Train Children's Physicians

Congress appropriates $285 million for children's teaching hospitals

In a show of bipartisan unity and support for children's health, Congress passed today the FY 2002 Labor/HHS Appropriations Bill providing $285 million to support the training of pediatricians and pediatric specialists across the country including Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh.

"Today, Congress has clearly demonstrated its support for children's hospitals and for the future of children's health care," said Ronald L. Violi, President and CEO, Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh. "This funding will assist Children's in our commitment to ensure first-rate medical care for all children throughout our region. This federal support is critical to our mission of providing the highest quality training to the next generation of pediatricians."

The federal appropriation is $50 million more than FY 2001 and achieves the program's original, 1999 authorized funding amount of $285 million. As Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh and children's hospitals nationwide strive to sustain clinical care, education and research missions while facing significant financial challenges due to cuts in state Medicaid programs, the news of new federal support for graduate medical education (GME) comes at a critical time.

Historically, Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh received approximately $50,000 annually to train 140 residents - a figure that equated to 1/200th of the subsidy that other teaching hospital with Medicare patients received. In September, the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) carried out the FY 2001 $235 million appropriation by awarding 57 children's teaching hospitals federal payment for their GME programs. Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh received $7 million of that funding.

Violi added, "Independent teaching hospitals, like Children's will now receive a level of federal support for physician training that is much more comparable to what adult teaching hospitals receive under Medicare. In addition to thanking the HRSA, we want to thank Senator Arlen Specter and Representative John Peterson, members of the Labor-HHS Subcommittee, who have feverishly worked to continue to increase funding for hospitals like ours."

An inequitable gap in the way the federal government invests in GME programs at adult hospitals versus children's hospitals has long been a serious cause for concern among child advocates. Nearly 30% of the nation's pediatricians and 50% of all pediatric specialists are trained at independent children's teaching hospitals. And, children's hospitals are often the only source of care in a regional area for many critical pediatric services.

As managed care moved into the health care marketplace, traditional sources of GME support for all teaching hospitals began to dry up, leaving Medicare the one remaining, significant source of federal funding. Left largely outside of this funding stream because they treat children, not the elderly, many children's teaching hospitals began to face difficult choices, such as continuing their GME programs at the expense of closing other important community service programs such as child abuse prevention or other specialty services.

Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh trains an average of 140 residents each year. Children's received the tenth largest appropriation from HRSA in September. Funding levels are based on the volume of each residency and fellowship program.

DeAnn Marshall, 412-692-5016

Last Update
February 20, 2008
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Last Update
February 20, 2008