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Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) introduced legislation today that would increase federal funding for medical residency programs at qualifying specialized and safety-net hospitals. Women & Infants Hospital of Rhode Island, a member of the Care New England Health System, and other hospitals around the country would benefit from this bill.

"Women & Infants Hospital trains the next generation of health care professionals while providing exceptional care to Rhode Islanders, especially expectant mothers and babies," said U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse. "The hospital's unique specialization, which has benefitted generations of Rhode Island families, unfortunately means that Women & Infants foots more of the bill for its residency program than other hospitals. That's why I introduced the Graduate Medical Education Equity Act, to make sure specialty and safety-net hospitals have the opportunity to receive comparable federal support for their residency programs."

Care New England estimates that Women & Infants would gain as much as $1.5 million in federal funding annually as a direct result of Whitehouse’s legislation. The legislation, the Graduate Medical Education Equity Act, would boost federal graduate medical education payments to hospitals such as Women & Infants that see a larger number of Medicaid patients. The bill would help level the playing field for certain specialty and safety-net academic teaching hospitals around the country that invest heavily in training the next generation of clinical specialists without receiving equal direct GME payments. This funding enables teaching hospitals to offer state-of-the-art clinical and educational experiences to medical residents.

“We are extremely thankful to Sen. Whitehouse and his staff for their efforts to help provide a more adequate level of funding for teaching hospitals such as Women & Infants that have traditionally been short-changed under the existing DGME reimbursement formula,” said Dennis D. Keefe, president and chief executive officer of Care New England. “While the financial challenges for health care providers continue to increase, it is crucial we find ways to ensure hospitals and health systems such as ours remain financially viable while still being able to support our mission as an academic medical center.”

Women & Infants Hospital of Rhode Island, a Care New England hospital, is one of the nation’s leading specialty hospitals for women and newborns. The major teaching affiliate of The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University for activities unique to women and newborns, Women & Infants also maintains teaching relationships with numerous nursing and professional schools, and its research efforts have earned national and international recognition and support. Women & Infants and Brown offer fellowship programs in gynecologic oncology, maternal-fetal medicine, urogynecology and reconstructive pelvic surgery, women's mental health, neonatal-perinatal medicine, pediatric and perinatal pathology, gynecologic pathology and cytopathology, breast disease, obstetric medicine and reproductive endocrinology and infertility.

“Women & Infants serves a very specific and important role for residents of Rhode Island, southeastern New England and beyond,” said Mark Marcantano, president and chief operating officer for Women & Infants. “Our ability to adequately train the next generation of women’s health specialists while conducting innovative medical research is critical to delivering high-quality care to the patients and families we serve. Sen. Whitehouse’s bill shows that he understands the importance of this issue not only for his home state but for the nation as a whole, and we are extremely thankful for his efforts on our behalf.”

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