Support Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Workforce

By ASPHO posted 02-20-2013 10:37

  

Two federal programs that are crucial to maintaining the pipeline of pediatric hematologists/oncologists need your support. Federal funding is essential to guarantee that children with blood disorders and cancer have access to the specialists they need. Take action today to inform your members of Congress about these important programs.

Pediatric Subspecialty Loan Repayment Program
Legislation was passed in 2010 that could help reduce shortages of pediatric hematologists/oncologists and encourage them to practice in underserved areas. Unfortunately, this program has yet to be funded by Congress.

The Pediatric Subspecialty Loan Repayment program was established to ameliorate shortages in pediatric subspecialty that result in longer patient waiting lists and farther distances for families to travel to necessary care. The program would offer pediatric subspecialists up to $35,000 in loan repayment for each year of service in an underserved area for a maximum of 3 years.

Financial considerations and student debt are well-documented as deterrents to subspecialty fellowship in pediatrics. The Pediatric Subspecialty Loan Repayment program can be part of the solution to this program but first, Congress needs to fund the program.

Children’s Hospital Graduate Medical Education (CHGME) Program
Many pediatric hematologists/oncologists train at freestanding children’s hospitals. Because these hospitals do not qualify for Medicare graduate medical education (GME) funding, they rely on the federal CHGME program to help finance their residency and fellowship programs.

Funding for the program is at risk. The law that authorizes CHGME needs to be renewed and Congressional appropriators must continue to approve funding for the program. If funding for CHGME is eliminated or reduced, pediatric subspecialty training will be threatened. A bill has been introduced in the House of Representatives to reauthorize the program, the GME Support Reauthorization Act of 2013 (H.R. 297).

Take Action Today
Contact your senators and representatives and tell them about the importance of the Pediatric Subspecialty Loan Repayment program and the CHGME program. 

Please consider using the following talking points:

  • Pediatric hematologists/oncologists provide essential care for children with blood disorders and cancer.
  • Too few providers are available for these children, making it difficult for families to access needed care, particularly in underserved areas.
  • Federal investments are needed to promote an adequate pediatric hematology/oncology workforce.
  • Please provide funding for the Pediatric Subspecialty Loan Repayment program in the fiscal year 2014 appropriations process.
  • Please reauthorize and fully fund the CHGME program. Support H.R. 297, the GME Support Reauthorization Act of 2013.

If you have questions about the pediatric workforce bills, contact James Baumberger in the AAP Department of Federal Affairs at jbaumberger@aap.org

Click here to learn more about ASPHO-AAP Advocacy Alliance.

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