OHSU made the difficult decision to inactivate its Heart Transplant Program Friday, Aug. 24. During the 14-day inactivation period, OHSU will not evaluate any new patients for transplant, accept donor hearts or perform heart transplant surgeries for patients on its wait list. OHSU’s liver, pancreas and kidney transplant programs are not impacted by this decision in any way.
Our clinicians, transplant coordinators and Patient Relations staff are working closely with affected patients. The 14-day suspension immediately impacts 20 patients on our wait list and five candidates for transplant evaluation. The inactivation also affects 327 post-transplant patients who are in various timeframes of post-transplant care. These patients are our most important priority right now.
Our heart transplant team and senior leadership are 100 percent committed to and focused on ensuring our patients have immediate and ongoing care, and we are actively developing care plans that best meet their medical needs and individual circumstances. OHSU has been working with multiple transplant centers around the country in accordance with our patients’ preferences, including the University of Washington, and we have several mechanisms in place to expedite their transition.
Regarding Heart Transplant Program staffing, we can confirm that three heart failure transplant cardiologists will have departed OHSU, effective Sept. 30. One heart failure transplant cardiologist departed several months ago. Beyond that, personnel matters, including reasons for departure, are confidential.
We are actively rebuilding our heart transplant program and are in the process of recruiting new heart failure and heart transplantation specialists. For confidentiality reasons, OHSU cannot disclose whether we have candidates in any stage of recruitment, and we cannot communicate about any imminent appointments until contracts are signed.
We entered a two-week inactivation period because we wanted to pursue every reasonable opportunity to ensure adequate staffing and support to care for our existing patients, and to provide the full spectrum of transplantation and post-operative care. We promised to notify our patients and the community if we need to extend the suspension, and we will keep that promise.
OHSU has notified the United Network for Organ Sharing, the national organization that manages the organ donation and transplant system, and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, of its decision to temporarily suspend heart transplant services.
We will continue to be transparent about our progress as we work to reactivate the program as quickly as possible.
Because our team is fully devoted to addressing patient care needs, they aren’t able to do interviews at this time.