Sen. Whitehouse holding children’s hospital bill

{mosads}Whitehouse’s “measure would not require any new funding, but would make a significant difference in the ability of children’s psychiatric hospitals to sustain, build, and strengthen their residency programs so children with mental health needs are better served,” his office told The Hill in a statement.

The statement says the effort is supported by Rhode Island’s other senator, Democrat Jack Reed.

The funding program expired at the end of September. Legislation to reauthorize it sailed through the Republican-controlled House in September, but has been stuck in the Senate since passing out of committee that same month.

The children’s hospital lobby says it’s not opposed to the amendment, but is hoping for quick action before Congress adjourns in the next couple of weeks. With the limited days left for floor action, unanimous consent seems the easiest way forward — especially since the bill would have to go back to the House if Whitehouse’s amendment is adopted.

“We’re not opposed to it on policy grounds,” said Jim Kaufman, vice president for public policy at the National Association of Children’s Hospitals. “But our position is [lawmakers] need to reauthorize it before they break for the holidays.”

The Children’s Hospitals Graduate Medical Education program funds training for 40 percent of the nation’s pediatric specialists and 43 percent of its general pediatricians, Kaufman said.

Tags Jack Reed

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