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House approves $1.7 billion children’s hospital GME bill

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted Feb. 18, 2013

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Legislation to extend the children’s hospital graduate medical education program for five years and increase pediatric research at the National Institutes of Health cleared the House on Feb. 4.

Authorization for the children’s hospital GME program expired in 2011, but temporary appropriations bills have kept it going until the next expiration date of March 27, 2013. New legislation would provide $110 million a year for 2013 through 2017. The money is awarded to eligible hospitals by using a formula that accounts for the number of residents employed. An additional $220 million a year would give indirect federal GME support.

The research bill would provide support and training for 20 pediatric research consortia for five years. NIH would establish a data coordinating center for the network and allow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to establish or expand surveillance systems, such as patient registries. The cost of implementing the legislation would be $1 million, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

Organized medicine groups support the bills. The funding for GME would support freestanding children’s hospitals, and strengthen training and research opportunities for outpatient and inpatient care for children, wrote Atul Grover, MD, PhD, chief public policy officer for the Assn. of American Medical Colleges, in a Jan. 17 letter.

The bills would need to pass the Senate before going to the White House to be signed into law.

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