Timing is critical, say advocates, because CHGME funding was cut from the Obama administration's budget for fiscal year 2012, which begins Oct 1. That means Congress would need to act quickly to reauthorize the program and provide an appropriation. The administration reportedly wants to redirect the CHGME funding to train additional primary care physicians.
Although supporters are growing confident of passage of the reauthorization bill, CHGME must still pass muster with the Congressional appropriations committee. There also is concern regarding the role the debt super committee will play in budget negotiations.
Jim Kaufman, vice president for public policy for the National Association of Children's Hospitals, explained that the House and Senate bills will both reauthorize the program for five more years but that as discretionary spending, CHGME funding will still be subject to the annual appropriations process.
Funding for individual hospitals in 2010, the latest year figures are available, ranged from about $51,000 at Children's Specialized Hospital in Mountainside, NJ, to the more than $21 million received by both Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and Boston Children's Hospital.
Amy B. Mansue, president and CEO of Children's Specialized Hospital, said if funding for the program is trimmed or cut that most affected hospitals will try to find a way to maintain their pediatric residency programs. “The biggest loss would be to our patients who would not have access to the specialists who have the skills to help children reach their fullest potential.”