National Coverage Analysis (NCA) Tracking Sheet

Liver Transplants in Non-approved Centers During the Emergency in Houston



Medicare presently covers liver transplants only in approved centers. Severe tropical rain storms in the Houston area has forced closure of the only three hospitals in the Houston metropolitan area that perform liver, pancreas and kidney transplants. All three hospitals are estimated to remain closed for the next 1 to 4 months. The President has declared Harris County and a number of surrounding counties a Federal disaster area.

One of the hospitals, Memorial Hermann Hospital, is prepared to move its entire liver, pancreas, and kidney transplant teams to affiliated hospitals in the Houston suburbs to perform transplants during this period.We are considering whether it is reasonable and necessary to grant emergency coverage to Memorial Hermann-Memorial City Hospital, Memorial Hermann Southwest Hospital and Memorial Hermann Southeast Hospital for liver transplants on a temporary basis given the above circumstances until Memorial Hermann Hospital can re-open for transplants. Pancreas transplants, as permitted in Section 35-82 of the Coverage Issues Manual, may be covered in any participating center. Kidney transplants are required to be performed in approved centers by regulations and can not be addressed through the NCD process. We are considering regulation changes to address this emergency.

National Coverage Determinations

Benefit Category

Inpatient Hospital Services

Requestor Information

Requestor NameRequestor Letter
Memorial Hermann Hospital N/A

Important Dates

Formal Request Accepted and Review Initiated
Expected NCA Completion Date
Public Comment Period
06/15/2001 - 07/16/2001
Decision Memo Released


Lead Analysts
Jackie Sheridan-Moore

Actions Taken

June 15, 2001

Posted notice of acceptance of NCD request on the Internet

June 15, 2001

Posted Decision Memorandum on the Internet.