St. Vincent To Close Liver Transplant Program
St. Vincent Medical Center on Friday will announce the closure of its liver transplant program after hospital officials acknowledged last month that doctors violated national organ transplant standards by misappropriating a liver in 2003, the Los Angeles Times reports (Ornstein, Los Angeles Times, 11/4).
Hospital officials suspended the program in September upon discovering the case, in which a patient who was 52nd on a regional transplant waiting list received an organ ahead of others (California Healthline, 10/13).
The federal government on Sept. 30 withdrew the hospital's certification for the program, making it ineligible for Medicare or Medicaid reimbursement.
Investigations are being conducted by the hospital, the Department of Health Services, CMS and the United Network for Organ Sharing.
St. Vincent will continue programs to transplant kidneys, pancreases and hearts.
St. Vincent President and CEO Gus Valdespino said no problems have been found with those programs.
With the closure, 75 patients waiting for a liver transplant at St. Vincent's must be moved to waiting lists maintained by other hospitals. About one-third of the patients on St. Vincent's list have been moved, but it is "unclear how the transition" will affect their chances of receiving new livers, the Times reports.
For the next three months, St. Vincent will continue to care for 170 patients who received liver transplants there in the past decade, but Valdespino said officials are still determining how these patients will be treated and tracked in the future (Los Angeles Times, 11/4).