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Bill to Reauthrorize CHGME and Promote Pediatric Research Introduced in House

The 113th Congress got off to a promising start as Representatives Frank Pallone (D-NJ) and Joe Pitts (R-PA) introduced legislation to reauthorize the Children’s Hospital Graduate Medical Education program (CHGME). This early start is great news for children’s hospitals and the future pediatric specialists who train there.

The 113th Congress got off to a promising start as Representatives Frank Pallone (D-NJ) and Joe Pitts (R-PA) introduced legislation to reauthorize the Children’s Hospital Graduate Medical Education program (CHGME). This early start is great news for children’s hospitals and the future pediatric specialists who train there.

The bill, H.R. 297, is nearly identical to the legislation passed the House in the previous Congress. That bill ultimately died in the Senate when they could not come to agreement on certain provisions. H.R. 297 would reauthorize the program for five years (through FY 2017) and maintain the current authorization level of up to $330 million a year (though the program has received less funding in recent years).

In a statement, Congressman Pitts reaffirmed his support of the program and challenged his Senate colleagues to see it through this year:

Children in our communities are counting on this program to train a future generation of pediatricians. This is a program with proven results and it is past time that we reauthorize CHGME and provide certainty to hospitals and doctors. The bill had overwhelming support in the last Congress, and we hope that this year the Senate will take it up and send it to the President.

Representative Pallone added, “I am proud to co-introduce this important bill in the 113th Congress with Congressman Pitts to make sure we continue to prioritize and expand pediatric care and thus protect the health of our children.”

Representatives Michael Burgess (D-TX) and Lois Capps (D-CA) joined Pitts and Pallone as co-sponsors of the legislation, which will be taken up by the House Energy and Commerce Committee for a “mark-up.” This select group will discuss the bill and make any necessary changes before sending it to the House floor for a vote by all 435 members. We will keep you posted on this process, as well as any action in the Senate. In the meantime, as we mentioned last week, you’re encouraged to send a message to President Obama urging him to fund CHGME in his proposed 2014 budget.

Representative Capps scored a one-two punch as on the same day she co-sponsored CHGME legislation she also reintroduced the National Pediatric Research Network Act (NPRNA) with Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA). The NPRNA (H.R. 225) unanimously passed the House last year, but like the CHGME reauthorization legislation was not completed before Congress adjourned. The legislation would authorize the National Institutes of Health to facilitate the creation of pediatric research consortia focused on pediatric diseases, with the goal of increasing research and accelerating the development of clinical trials to treat rare pediatric diseases. “This bill would go a long way to increasing, coordinating, and improving research on children’s illnesses–especially rare and complex diseases–and developing new treatments to fight them,” said Rep. Capps. “Every parent’s worst fear is that their child becomes sick, and we owe it to every parent in America to do what we can to fight childhood illnesses.”

Rep. McMorris Rodgers, whose own son has Down’s Syndrome, added “Too often, research into pediatric disorders has lagged behind research into other medical conditions. The time has come to take pediatric research to the next level, and this bill will do just that.”

We thank these legislators for their efforts on behalf of our children's health.


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