While the current buzz is all about Friday's federal budget deal, a physician here is focusing her attention on the future, 2012, budget. More specifically, Lisa Chamberlain, MD, is working to get funding included for Children’s Hospitals Graduate Medical Education - a $318 million program that helps pay for pediatricians’ residency training. President Obama’s proposed 2012 budget eliminates funding for the program.
In a piece in today's Inside Stanford Medicine, Chamberlain, a Lucile Packard Children's Hospital pediatrician, discusses the importance of the program and how the elimination of CHGME could affect ill children:
The level of funding we have had in the past has not been adequate - CHGME has never been fully funded. As a result, we already have shortages of pediatric specialists in fields like rheumatology, orthopedics and nephrology. There are many large regions of the country, even in California, where it’s hard to find a doctor who can take care of a child’s specific condition. These are really sick kids, and they need to travel hours and hours to receive care, or be treated by an adult doctor who lacks the right expertise.
If CHGME is not funded, it’s going to really hurt the ability of freestanding children’s hospitals to continue to train the physicians that kids need. Would we feel the effects of the change the next day? No. Would we feel it five years from now? Absolutely. We’ll see the same sort of physician shortages we see now, but across an even broader range of specialties.
Photo from Packard Children's