CMS Responds To Criticism of Transplant Center Oversight
CMS Administrator Mark McClellan on Friday responded to concerns from Senate Finance Committee Chair Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) that many federally funded organ transplant programs fail to meet federal standards, the Los Angeles Times reports (Ornstein, Los Angeles Times, 7/4).
Grassley on Thursday sent a letter to the McClellan and Health Resources and Services Administration Administrator Elizabeth Duke over concerns about the lack of action against transplant programs that fail to meet federal standards on the number of procedures they must perform and patient survival rates. In the letter, Grassley wrote, "I have been increasingly concerned about the oversight of the organ procurement and transplantation system."
Grassley sent the letter after the Times on Thursday reported that 20% of transplant programs do not meet federal standards (California Healthline, 6/30).
In a letter sent to Grassley, McClellan wrote that CMS improved oversight of transplant programs last year after agency officials found serious operational problems at the University of California-Irvine Medical Center.
According to McClellan, CMS will take action against transplant programs that fail to respond to a federal safety survey sent in March; 202 of the 236 heart, liver and lung programs have responded to the survey to date. Twenty-six heart transplant programs, five lung programs and one liver program to date have reported that they fail to meet federal standards on the number of procedures they must perform, and two heart programs and four lung programs have reported that they fail to meet federal standards for patient survival rates.
"Medicare has been and remains very concerned that beneficiaries have access to a system that is both fair and safe," McClellan wrote (Los Angeles Times, 7/4).