Hospitals that specialize in treating children are asking Congress to continue support at current levels for child health care. The Children’s Hospital Association is rallying in Washington this week in hopes that funding will be maintained for the Children’s Hospitals Graduate Medical Education program and Medicaid. Mark Wietecha, Children’s Hospital Association president, says Illinois would feel the impact if cuts to both programs are made.
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“It’s a big thing in Illinois,” Wietecha said. “There are nearly 1½ million Illinois children being covered, their health care coverage, via Medicaid,” he said. Wietecha points to the many children’s hospitals in Illinois that are used as teaching grounds for pediatricians and pediatric specialists starting out that would be affected if cuts to the CHGME program were made. Eleven children’s hospitals in Illinois are members of the Children’s Hospital Association. CHGME was created in 1999 by Congress to support pediatric training at a funding level comparable to its support of adult physician training. Children’s hospitals that receive CHGME train nearly half of all pediatricians and pediatric specialists who practice in the U.S.