Congressman Leonard Lance (NJ-07) today announced he was cosponsoring legislation that would address a national shortage of primary and specialty pediatric physicians.  Lance made the announcement of support during a news conference with hospital officials, staff and residents in training at Children’s Specialized Hospital in Mountainside.

The legislation would reauthorize the federal Children’s Hospitals Graduate Medical Education Payment Program to help pediatric training programs by maintaining and strengthening existing hospital graduate medical education programs.

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The measure was introduced by Reps. Joe Pitts (R-PA) and Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ), who also serve with Lance on the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health.  The Seventh District Congressman said the legislation was necessary because the reauthorization faces an even greater challenge because President Obama failed to fund this critical program in his budget.

“This important legislation works to ensure that a sufficient number of well-trained pediatricians and pediatric specialist are available to care for young people,” Lance said.  “The staff at Children’s Specialized Hospital in Mountainside do an outstanding job caring for New Jersey’s children and training a highly qualified, effective medical staff.  And as a member of the House Health Subcommittee I stand ready to help move this bill through Congress.”

According to Amy B. Mansue, president and CEO of Children’s Specialized Hospital, the program has been a major success for hospitals, like Children’s, who utilize the program to help train and educate pediatric physicians. 

“Educating future pediatric specialist is critical to meeting the health needs of the children we serve,” said Mansue. “Congressman Lance is a champion for needs of the most vulnerable among us. He is always willing to offer his leadership and support and for that we are indebted.”

Children's Specialized Hospital is the largest pediatric rehabilitation hospital, with nine sites in New Jersey. The hospital treated over 18,000 children with special needs last year.

Nationally 56 hospitals, including Children’s Specialized Hospital, participate in the program which funds GME programs for medical school graduates, enhances hospitals’ research capabilities and improves hospitals’ ability to provide care to vulnerable and underserved children. In 2009, the national program supported the training of 5,361 resident physicians.