Chicago heart transplant centers running under capacity

At present, Chicago is tied with Philadelphia as cities having the most adult heart transplant centers of any in the United States. In theory, this makes sense, given that Chicago has some of the world's best heart transplant surgeons, observers say. But critics say that this is a bad thing--that with so many competing centers in place, few are getting enough volume to keep their teams' skills current. Worse, these centers, which hospitals prize for the reputation boost they give a facility, are extremely expensive and probably not needed by the community, the critics argue. 

As it turns out, despite this intense level of competition, fewer patients are getting heart transplants in the Chicago metro than other major urban areas. For example, Loyola University Medical Center, Northwestern Memorial Hospital and the University of Chicago Medical Center each perform about one heart transplant every two weeks, far less than leading centers in cities like New York and Los Angeles. And Rush University Medical Center performed only three heart transplants last year, less than the 10 Medicare requires for a center to keep its certification. The oddest thing about all of this is that the Illinois Health Facilities Planning Board apparently has given its seal of approval to these programs. Makes you wonder what's going on there.

To learn more about Chicago's battling heart transplant programs:
- read this Chicago Tribune article

Related Articles:
Three more heart transplant programs in jeopardy. Report
Four more heart transplant centers could lose CMS funds. Report
Sutter heart transplant program decertified by Medi-Cal. Report
Regional heart transplant program struggles. Report

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