The cow milk of every transplant center is Medicare. This is the insurance company you don’t want to disappoint because if you run a transplant program with bad outcomes, they can close you down and quickly. This is what happened to Temple University’s Hospital in Philadelphia, Pa. The main reasons they were cited for was too many grafts failure and too many death on their lung transplant program during the first year after surgery. When a graft failure is documented it is either because the patient has been re-transplanted or is dead. Every transplant center is given an expected survival value they must meet. This value is calculated based on the risks they take. Not all patients survive a year and that is the expectation. But when too many patients don’t make it a year it becomes a problem.
A lot of things need to go perfectly well for an organ transplant be successful but once things go bad and hurt the patient, this is up to the transplant center to investigate what and how it happened and to fix it. The goal is to fix something before the government gets involved. Another thing they were cited for was a low number of heart transplants. Medicare requires at least 10 of those per year for every organ. During the last year available on the SRTR (government-funded database) website which ended in June 2010, only 3 heart transplants were performed. The good news is they all made it at least one year! The worst thing that happens after Medicare drops a hospital off is the private insurance companies leaving. They tend to follow Medicare. No money, no candy! Big transplant centers need Medicare because those patients represent about 80% of the transplant candidates. In conclusion, Medicare is very important and so are the outcomes.