Advocacy News

October 13, 2015



AAOS Disappointed in Release of Meaningful Use Stage 3 Final Rules

Bonefied News

Senators Introduce Legislation to Improve Electronic Health Records

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Senate HIT Hearing

Legislators Introduce Loan Forgiveness Legislation for Pediatric Subspecialists

Risk Evaluation & Mitigation Strategies: Understanding and Evaluating Their Impact on the Health Care Delivery System & Patient Access

PQRS Informal Review Process

Ambulatory Surgery Center Association Meets in DC

MDEpiNet PPP Annual Meeting- October 1 -2, 2015

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Legislators Introduce Loan Forgiveness Legislation for Pediatric Subspecialists

Earlier this year, Representatives Chris Collins (R-NY) and Joe Courtney (D-CT) introduced the Ensuring Children’s Access to Specialty Care Act of 2015 (H.R. 1859), which would modify the National Health Service Corps (NHSC) loan repayment program to allow pediatric subspecialists working in underserved areas to participate. AAOS sent a letter of support to Collins and Courtney last week, saying the bill “takes the significant steps to begin to address the need for fairness in the loan repayment program.”

“Access to pediatric health services is critical for families nationwide, but many families find themselves too far from the physician specialists their children need,” said Congressman Courtney. “This proposal would help draw more pediatric doctors into specialties that treat children and adolescents with serious physical, mental and behavioral conditions, specifically in rural and underserved areas. I thank Congressman Collins for his leadership on this issue, and I look forward to working with him to advance this important legislation.”

The medical community is in need of thousands of new health care providers in the very near future and none more than in the fields of pediatric specialties. The shortages mean many young patients are waiting weeks and sometimes months just to get an appointment. It’s not only the impact on the child and lack of adequate care, but the entire family structure suffers with missed school days and parents missing work, creating even more stress. The shortages in pediatric specialties have been a problem for over a decade with some parts of the country worse off than other others. 

Specifically, many children in underserved areas are not receiving timely and appropriate health care. Children and their families often face long waiting lists to see subspecialists or must travel long distances to find needed care. Shortages threaten to become more severe as fewer medical students choose careers in pediatric areas, specifically residents choosing to pursue pediatric orthopaedic fellowships. Subsequently, these are the least populated subspecialties among orthopaedic surgeons even as the number of pediatric patients treated for musculoskeletal disorders continues to rise.

There are three primary economic disincentives that discourage medical students from pursuing careers in pediatric subspecialties including the additional training beyond their primary residency training, high loan debt due to longer training and average Medicaid reimbursement that is 30 percent less than Medicare. In addition, the shortage of these specialists is compounded by the growing number of children in the U.S. and an aging physician workforce, which is why access to pediatric specialty and subspecialty providers is so essential.  

Read the full text of the legislation online here.