July 15, 2011: Markey, Kerry, Brown, Delegation Defend MA Hospital Funding

BOSTON – Rep. Edc Markey, along with the entire Congressional delegation, today urged President Barack Obama to protect funding to train doctors and run trauma centers and teaching hospitals in Massachusetts throughout negotiations to increase the country’s debt limit.

In a letter sent this morning, the Massachusetts delegation strongly backed Medicare graduate medical education (GME) dollars, noting “the size of the proposed reduction of medical education funding could exacerbate the significant physician shortages already facing our nation.”

Teaching hospitals play a critical role in training tomorrow’s doctors, providing specialized services such as trauma centers, pediatric ICUs and transplant centers and conducting groundbreaking medical research that save lives,” the Members wrote.  “The size of these cuts could have a devastating impact on the ability of teaching hospitals to fulfill these critical missions.  As budget negotiations continue, we respectfully request that you fight any effort that would significantly undermine the education of physicians, nurses, and other health care providers.”

 

The full text of the Delegation’s letter to the President is below:

July 15, 2011

The President
The White House
Washington, D.C. 20500

Dear Mr. President:

As you work with the Congress on negotiations to reach an agreement to increase the debt limit, we write to express our deep concern about impact of potential reductions to Medicare graduate medical education (GME) payments on our nation’s teaching hospitals, including those in Massachusetts.

We realize that the nation’s current fiscal situation will require shared sacrifice, but we are concerned that the size of the proposed reduction of medical education funding could exacerbate the significant physician shortages already facing our nation. The recommendations made by the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, which are currently under consideration, would eliminate approximately $5.8 billion in GME funding to our nation’s teaching hospitals.  This approach would cut more than $320 million in critically-needed GME funding to Massachusetts hospitals. These proposed cuts come on top of decisions made by states, including Massachusetts, to eliminate or drastically reduce Medicaid funding for medical education.  Additionally, significant Medicare payment reforms to hospitals contained in the Affordable Care Act are just now being implemented.

Teaching hospitals play a critical role in training tomorrow’s doctors, providing specialized services such as trauma centers, pediatric ICUs and transplant centers and conducting groundbreaking medical research that save lives. The size of these cuts could have a devastating impact on the ability of teaching hospitals to fulfill these critical missions.

As a major driver of the economy, our teaching hospitals are a unique resources and a significant factor in life sciences companies locating and growing in Massachusetts and in many other parts of the country. The U.S. has the world’s best physicians and nurses because we have the best teaching hospitals, and significant cuts to Medicare GME payments could jeopardize the U.S.’s international status as a leader in the life sciences arena as our economy emerges from the worst recession in generations.

We fully appreciate the difficult financial choices facing our nation, however, the severity of the proposed cuts could devastate teaching hospitals ability to maintain vital, life-saving services that are often unavailable elsewhere in communities. As budget negotiations continue, we respectfully request that you fight any effort that would significantly undermine the education of physicians, nurses, and other health care providers at a time when our nation faces a critical shortage of doctors, which will threaten the health of all U.S. residents.

Thank you for your consideration of this request.

Sincerely,

John F. Kerry                      

Scott P. Brown



Edward J. Markey                   

Barney Frank

Richard E. Neal                  

John W. Olver   


John F. Tierney                   

James P. McGovern


Michael E. Capuano                   

Stephen F. Lynch


William R. Keating


Niki Tsongas                       

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