Baylor St. Luke’s regains Medicare funding for heart transplants

CMS has reinstated funding for Houston-based Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center’s heart transplant program two years after reimbursement was cut off, according to the Houston Chronicle

CMS terminated funding for heart transplants performed at Baylor St. Luke’s in August 2018 after an investigation by ProPublica and the Houston Chronicle revealed several patient deaths and surgical complications. The investigation revealed three of nine patients who received heart transplants at the hospital in the first six months of 2018 had died, and the hospital’s heart transplant rate ranked near the bottom nationally. 

In a letter made public Sept. 29, CMS said surveyors concluded an inspection of the heart transplant program and found no deficiencies. Medicare funding was reinstated Aug. 25, according to the report. 

“We are excited to be recognized as fully accredited again,” Doug Lawson, PhD, CEO of CHI St. Luke’s Health, told the Houston Chronicle. “This is the result of hours of hard work by a team of exceptional professionals and sets the stage for Baylor St. Luke’s to serve the community for the years to come.

The hospital made several changes to address the deficiencies identified by CMS, including bringing in new leadership and quality improvement staff for the heart transplant program. 

Read the full Houston Chronicle article here

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