Access to Pediatricians and Specialists: Why CHGME Is Vital
Fewer Physicians + More Kids = Longer Wait Times.
When your child needs medical care or a professional’s opinion on their health, you want them to get what they need as soon as possible.
Hospitals understand that and work to keep the wait times for scheduling clinic appointments as short as possible.
In general, children’s hospitals use a wait time of two weeks as a benchmark to measure if waits are becoming too much for families — so two weeks from when a family requests an appointment until their child can see a specialist.
But in certain specialties experiencing shortages, wait times can be longer. The average wait time to see a pediatric neurologist, for instance, is almost nine weeks.
That’s why the Children’s Hospitals Graduate Medical Education (CHGME) program is so important. The federal CHGME program funds the annual training of more than 7,000 new pediatric providers!
CHGME is a necessary, dedicated source of support for strengthening the pediatric workforce. It enables children's hospitals to dramatically increase training overall, and in particular grow the supply of pediatric specialists — the area of greatest shortage in children's health care.
Between 2000 and 2015, CHGME allowed children’s hospitals to collectively increase their residency training by 113 percent, accounting for 89 percent of the overall growth nationally in pediatric training!
Over the same timeframe, CHGME provided funding for hospital efforts to increase the number of pediatric specialists they train by 206 percent.
While CHGME has a track record of success, much remains to be done. Nationally, workforce shortages persist, especially among pediatric subspecialties like neurology — though localized shortages in pediatric primary care also continue in certain areas.
That’s why it's vital for Congress to reauthorize the CHGME program — and appropriate strong funding for its future, in order to improve children’s health!