Last night, the House Energy and Commerce Committee advanced nine bills to extend federal funding for and improve critical health programs. Included in the committee markup was Valadao’s Community Health and Medical Professionals Improve Our Nation (CHAMPION) Act.
WASHINGTON – Last night, the House Energy and Commerce Committee advanced nine bills to extend federal funding for and improve critical health programs. Included in the committee markup was Valadao’s Community Health and Medical Professionals Improve Our Nation (CHAMPION) Act, legislation originally introduced by Congressman David G. Valadao (R-CA) and Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA).
Valadao’s provisions expand the Teaching Health Center Graduate Medical Education (THCGME) program and increases funding for residencies to $126.5 million, nearly double their current funding levels.
"As fewer medical school graduates pursue careers in rural America, Teaching Health Centers provide critical health care services many families rely on,” said Congressman David Valadao. “By expanding this program and doubling funding, the CHAMPION Act will ensure our most disadvantaged communities, like those in California’s Central Valley, have access to the medical professionals and health care services they deserve.”
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy stated, “David understands the unique challenges of living in rural America, including the difficulty of accessing quality health care services and treatment.” He continued, “Because of Valadao’s unfailing commitment to improving health care for our constituents, I am confident this legislation will pass the House and attract more primary and specialty care physicians to provide Central Valley families the best heath care possible.”
Specifically, the CHAMPION
- Extend federal funding for important public health priorities, including Community Health Centers and the Teaching Health Center Graduate Medical Education program
- Extend funding for Community Health Centers at $3.6 billion a year
- Give the Health Resources and Services Administration’s (HRSA) authority to make grants for New Access Points and Expanded Services and extends the rural to urban ratio guardrails for New Access Points and Expanded Services
- Extend funding for the Teaching Health Center Graduate Medical Education (THCGME) Program for two years, at $126.5 million per year
Act passed the full committee on Wednesday, October 4, 2017, by a vote of 28-23.
- Currently, the physician-to-population ratio in rural communities is stark. Only about 10% of physicians practice in these areas, even though almost a quarter of the population lives there
- The THCGME program was created in 2010 to address the shortage of primary care physicians in rural and medically underserved communities
- Currently, the program supports 742 residents at 59 Teaching Health Centers throughout the nation
- Compared to doctors who train in the traditional Medicare program, those trained at Teaching Health Centers are 82% more likely to practice primary care, 20% more likely to work in rural communities, and 55% more likely to work in underserved areas
- Six Teaching Health Centers are located in the State of California, including Clinica Sierra Vista in Bakersfield, California
Congressman David G. Valadao represents the 21st Congressional District, which includes Kings County and portions of Fresno, Tulare, and Kern Counties.