NY, NC transplant centers to lose CMS funding

CMS is beginning a crackdown on poorly performing organ transplant centers, starting with programs in North Carolina and New York. The idea is to convince facilities nationwide that CMS is serious about enforcement, said Dr. Barry Straube, Medicare's chief medical officer. CMS has told heart transplant programs at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center in North Carolina and Montefiore Medical Center in New York that they are going to lose CMS funding. Wake Forest's one-year patient survival rate has been around 43 percent of late, well below the federal requirement of 73 percent. The two have 30 days to appeal, and both say they plan to continue offering transplant services. Meanwhile, another program at St. Louis University Hospital agreed to withdraw its heart transplant program from the Medicare program when given the same threat. CMS is currently doing a review to see where it should next focus enforcement efforts, and observers expect to see more decertifications. It's also finalizing a new set of rules to govern transplant programs, which should be released before the end of the year.

Get more information on CMS's plans:
- read this Los Angeles Times article