Rep. Denham Champions Funding Increase for Area Teaching Health Centers and Residency Programs
WASHINGTON – Last night a bill championed by U.S. Rep. Jeff Denham (R-Turlock) to increase physician residency slots and expand teaching health center graduate programs was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives, with support from House Leadership, including House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield) and Republican Conference Chairwoman Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (WA-5).
The Community Health and Medical Professionals Improve Our Nation (CHAMPION) Act of 2017 includes several provisions offered by Rep. Denham, which will more than double funding for residencies to $126.5 million and expand the Teaching Health Center Graduate Medical Education (THCGME) program.
“The Central Valley has a severe physician shortage, and by doubling the funding for this program, facilities around the country like the Valley Consortium for Medical Education in Modesto will be able to increase residency slots to bring in more primary and specialty care physicians so that patients can see the doctor they need at a time and location that meets their needs,” said Rep. Denham.
“Jeff has been a champion in strengthening teaching health centers. His efforts will help make the Central Valley healthier with a physician workforce better trained for the unique health issues our communities like Modesto to Bakersfield face,” said Leader McCarthy. “Reports of doctor shortages in rural areas like ours are too common. The increased funding in this program will help address continued shortages of health professionals in more rural areas of California like ours, which is why I am proud of Jeff’s leadership on behalf of all our communities in the Central Valley.”
The CHAMPION Act also extends funding for Community Health Centers and the Special Diabetes program, two issues Rep. Denham has also been working to reauthorize.
· The THCGME program was created in 2010 to address the shortage of primary care physicians in rural and medically underserved communities.
· The program currently supports 742 residents at 59 Teaching Health Centers throughout the nation.
· The CHAMPION Act more than doubles the amount of funding for the THCGME program, from $60 million to $126.5 million.
· Six Teaching Health Centers are located in the State of California, including Valley Consortium for Medical Education in Modesto and Clinica Sierra Vista in Bakersfield.
· Funding for the THCGME program was slated to run out Sept. 30 but was extended in the Disaster Tax Relief and Airport and Airway Extension Act of 2017.
For more information on Congressman Denham’s fight for healthcare in the Valley, visit Denham.house.gov/healthcare.