Children's hospitals to lose funds for residency training

The Obama administration is seeking to all but eliminate a program that helps train pediatricians at the nation's children's hospitals--potentially costing those facilities hundreds of millions of dollars, reports Kaiser Health News.

The Children's Graduate Medical Education program, or CHGME, has received federal funding since the late 1990s, and currently provides more than $300 million a year to 56 children's hospitals throughout the U.S.

The hospitals train about 40 percent of the nation's pediatricians and 43 percent of pediatric specialists. Without the funding, the shortfall would likely have to be made up by the hospitals themselves.

The decision to cut the program is apparently backed by a need to create more primary care physicians in order to fulfill the demands of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, according to a White House Office of Management and Budget report.

"I certainly share the president's concern and Washington's concern in general that we need to right-size the workforce," said Sheldon Retchin, vice president for health sciences at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond and a past member of the Council of Graduate Medical Education. "But I think diverting money is probably a little premature. I'm unaware of any study that says we're oversupplied with pediatricians."

For more information:
- read the Kaiser Health News article
- here's the OMB report (.pdf)