Any Utah parent of a child with a serious medical condition can attest to the importance of Primary Children's Medical Center for excellent pediatric care.
For the resident physicians of the Pediatric Residency Program of the University of Utah and Primary Children's Medical Center, I write to alert Tribune readers of the ominous implications of one component of President Barack Obama's proposed 2012 federal budget.
Primary Children's is one of 60 free-standing children's hospitals that receive funding through the Children's Hospitals Graduate Medical Education program. These hospitals constitute less than 1 percent of all hospitals, but they train 40 percent of the nation's general pediatricians and the majority of the pediatric sub-specialists. The proposed budget eliminates all CHGME funding, about $317 million per year.
To keep pace with population growth, Utah needs at least 16 new pediatricians each year; the training programs at Primary Children's and the U. provide most of this workforce.
The loss of federal funding will interrupt the supply of well-trained physicians required to provide Utah high-quality pediatric care.
We ask all who care about children and their health to contact their senators and representatives and urge full support of the Children's Hospitals Graduate Medical Education program.
Kerry Whittemore, M.D.
Salt Lake City