Children's health got a big boost recently when the U.S. Congress passed House Resolution 5385, which extends the Children's Hospitals Graduate Medical Education (CHGME) Program for five years. And a Texas medical pioneer got a bit of limelight in the process.
CHGME provides federal funds to help freestanding children's hospitals maintain their graduate medical education GME programs used to train resident physicians and dentists.
In fiscal year 2017 CHGME distributed about $285 million to 58 hospitals nationwide, including seven in Texas. Much of that money is used to care for low-income children, according to the U.S. Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA), a branch of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The program supports the training of 48 percent of all general pediatrics residents and 53 percent of all pediatric subspecialty residents and fellows annually, HRSA says.
The Texas Medical Association has long supported the program, arguing that it fills a critical role in boosting the supply of these physicians. TMA President Doug Curran, MD, saluted U.S. Reps. Michael Burgess, MD (R-Lewisville), and Gene Green (D-Houston) for their work in passing the law, and President Donald Trump for signing it.
Dr. Curran pointed out that physicians tend to set up practice where they complete their residency training, so reauthorization of the law will translate directly into more physicians for Texas.
“Texas is the fastest growing state in the nation, and young Texans need more physicians here to keep them healthy and well,” Dr. Curran said.
The official title of the new law is the Dr. Benjy Frances Brooks Children’s Hospital GME Support Reauthorization Act of 2018. It is named after famed Houston physician Benjy Frances Brooks, MD, (1918-1998), the first female pediatric surgeon in Texas. She was born in Lewisville, where Congressman Burgess lives.
The bipartisan measure “will ensure that children in Texas and around the country continue to have access to highly-trained pediatricians and pediatric subspecialists,” Dr. Burgess said.