Save Our Teaching Health Center Programs
Teaching Health Center programs across the country are in jeopardy if the U.S. Congress fails to enact legislation to sustain the Teaching Health Center Graduate Medical Education (THCGME) program. A 3 month extension was recently approved but without immediate action the program’s future is at risk and will sunset on December 31, 2017. Programs are in the midst of recruiting for the next class of residents and many of them are faced with the reality that they may not have funding for it current classes let alone another class. Many have indicated they will finalize decisions to continue in the next few weeks.
On Wednesday October 4, 2017, the House Energy and Commerce Committee passed legislation, HR 3922, the CHAMPION Act, which, among its many provisions, would extend funding for Teaching Health Centers. It also includes funding extensions for Community Health Centers and National Heath Service Corps. The bill includes doubling the funding for the Teaching Health Centers program to $126 million per year for 2 years. This envisions funding of $157,000 per resident each year plus enough funds for some new centers/programs to be established in the next two years. There is significant bipartisan support on this issue. The bill language is based mainly on the legislation, H.R.3394, introduced in August 2017 in the House by Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers and Congresswoman Niki Tsongas and currently has 71 bipartisan cosponsors. The Senate companion legislation, S.1754, also introduced this summer currently has 12 bipartisan cosponsors.
Without immediate legislation, the long-term economic viability and stability of Teaching Health Centers the program will cease. This is a federal program that works and it is quite lean and efficient when compared to other federal programs. We can preserve this existing physician training program and expand these programs to more communities that are in dire need of doctors to avoid a doctor shortage. This legislation will permit Teaching Health Centers to continue to attract high-quality medical residents who have a desire to give back to their communities.
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Why Use Social Media?
The rise of social media has profoundly altered the way in which constituents interact with elected officials. As a public forum, social media increases visibility for what was once a private conversation between the writer and receiver of a letter or email. Visit our Contact Congress, Share Our Message and Share Our Vision sections to urge members of Congress to fund this important program.