August 17, 2009

Whitehouse Announces New Legislation to Help Fund Women’s Hospitals During Visit to Women & Infants Hospital

Providence, RI – During a visit to Women & Infants Hospital in Providence today, U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) announced new legislation to address inequities in federal funding for teaching hospitals that focus on women’s health. The Women’s Hospitals Education Equity Act would create a new $12 million funding pool for women’s hospitals focused on obstetrical care.

“Hospitals focusing on women’s health play an important role in our health care system,” said Whitehouse. “It is essential that these facilities receive the funding necessary to train future doctors and ensure we can meet America’s growing demand for quality medical care.”

Teaching hospitals specializing in women’s health play a vital and unique role in both health care delivery, and in training our next generation of obstetricians, gynecologists, neonatologists, and pediatricians. Most teaching hospitals are currently funded by federal Medicare graduate medical education payments, which cover expenses of educating residents. However, for women’s health facilities with low volumes of Medicare patients, this results in often inadequate levels of funding. Women & Infants Hospital, for example, receives less than 8% of Medicare’s average per resident graduate medical education payment to Rhode Island teaching hospitals.

The Women’s Hospitals Education Equity Act will establish a $12 million fund to help women’s hospitals around the country pay for graduate medical education programs. In order to target resources directly at those hospitals for which traditional Medicare payments are insufficient, eligibility will be limited to hospitals where fewer than 4% of total discharges were Medicare fee-for-service patients, and where at least 3,000 births occurred annually.


Press Contact

Meaghan McCabe, (202) 224-2921