MEDICARE TO BEGIN PAYING FOR LIVER TRANSPLANTS AT METHODIST DALLAS MEDICAL CENTER
Mark B. McClellan, M.D., Ph.D., administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced today that the Methodist Dallas Medical Center has been approved to perform liver transplants under the Medicare program.
"I am pleased to announce Methodist Dallas Medical Center as a Medicare-approved liver transplant facility," McClellan said. "Methodist Dallas met or exceeded all of our criteria for coverage. Medicare beneficiaries in the Dallas-Forth Worth area now have another option for these potentially lifesaving procedures."
The center, located in Dallas, Texas, will be eligible to receive Medicare reimbursements for liver transplants. CMS approved the application for payment based on recommendations from a panel of six external liver transplant experts who determined that Methodist Dallas fulfilled the necessary criteria.
Transplant centers must meet specific criteria prior to approval, including standards for patient selection policies, patient management protocols, commitment of the facility resources and staffing, and minimum volume and survival rates. Once a facility has been approved to receive Medicare reimbursement for transplant services, the facility must alert CMS immediately to any changes related to the transplant program. Such changes include significant reductions in survival rates or the loss of key members of its transplant team.
Medicare has covered liver transplants for adults since 1990, beginning with limited coverage of only 7 diagnoses. Coverage was expanded significantly in 1996 and 1999 to include all types of end-stage liver disease except for malignancies. Additionally, Medicare began covering hepatocellular carcinoma under certain circumstances in 2001.
Methodist Dallas Medical Center joins 89 other Medicare-approved liver transplant centers nationwide, including six previously approved facilities in the state of Texas.