The budget cuts would take a $32 million toll on children’s hospitals in Ohio, and could squeeze tight hospital budgets even further, the Columbus Dispatch reported. If Obama’s budget proposal is adopted, Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus would stand to lose $8 million that it uses to help train about 220 pediatricians, pediatric subspecialists and dentists every year.
About one-third of Nationwide Children’s spending on graduate medical education comes from the federal program, Dr. John Mahan, director of the hospital’s pediatric residency program, said.
Nick Lashutka, president of the Ohio Children’s Hospital Association, said the cuts would create problems related to children’s access to care.
“The most critical impact will be that children will have an even more difficult time getting access to specialists and subspecialists,” he said. “We already have a severe shortage of these pediaricians, which results in long waiting times and oftentimes months to make an appointment.”
The graduate medical education funding program for children’s hospitals was started in 1999, and designed to put children’s hospitals on a level playing field with those that treat adults and children. Hospitals that treat adults are eligible to receive Medicare funding to train physicians, but children’s hospitals don’t have that option.
The National Association of Children’s Hospitals said it was “dismayed and disappointed” in the proposal.
“What our nation cannot afford is to further jeopardize children’s access to physicians trained to meet children’s unique healthcare needs,” the group said in a statement.