UCI Transplant Programs on Probation
The United Network for Organ Sharing on Thursday placed the University of California-Irvine Medical Center on probation after the hospital was accused of misleading regulators about staffing problems in the liver transplant program, the Los Angeles Times reports. UCI's liver transplant program closed in November 2005.
UNOS officials cited UCI for "submission of documentation that contained potentially false representations" about its staffing.
While on probation, UCI will be able to continue performing kidney and pancreas transplants, but the programs must have adequate staff and meet patient care standards. Probation will last until the hospital can show it has corrected the problems.
UCI officials said in a statement that they would work with UNOS to improve the transplant programs.
Separately, the UNOS board adopted new oversight regulations that will increase monitoring of transplant centers' organ rejection rates and require hospitals to have a full-time surgeon available. UNOS also will require that it be notified within five days of regulatory actions against transplant centers.
In related news, UCI released documents showing that Marquis Hart, a UC-San Diego surgeon who served as director of UCI's transplant services, worked an average of 18 hours per month overseeing programs at UCI. Hart's contract required him to work 40 to 60 hours per month.
Records show that Hart never met the minimum required hours and that one month he did not work any hours (Ornstein/Berthelsen, Los Angeles Times, 3/24).