A technicality in the law has meant that children’s psychiatric hospitals could not compete for graduate medical education funding from the federal government. Other kinds of teaching hospitals, including general children's hospitals, have been able to apply for federal funding to train residents and fellows. But after years of trying, Rhode Island’s Senators Sheldon Whitehouse and Jack Reed have gotten the law changed.
Bradley Hospital’s academic director Dr. Greg Fritz says without the funding, the hospital might have to make cuts to its resident training program.
“It has been discussed,” said Fritz. “And this basically takes that off the table.”
Bradley will receive nearly $170,000 dollars this year, and more the next. It’s one of only eight free-standing children’s psychiatric hospitals in the country eligible for the new funding.
Fritz says there’s a shortage of child psychiatrists, and growing demand for their services. That’s why the new funding is critical.
“As clinical income for hospitals shrink, the training programs are at risk,” said Fritz. “We spend about a million dollars a year on training at Bradley, and it’s hard to sustain if the clinical revenue is not there.”
Fritz says Bradley trains dozens of fellows, residents, and medical students every year in child psychiatry. Until now, all of the money needed to pay trainees and support the program has come from the hospital's own coffers.