OHSU has made the decision to inactivate its Heart Transplant Program beyond the initial two-week period, effective Friday, Aug. 31. OHSU profoundly regrets the distress our patients are experiencing as a result of this action. We are deploying every resource at our disposal to ensure they have immediate and ongoing care.
OHSU has notified the United Network for Organ Sharing System (UNOS) and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) of our decision to extend the inactivation of heart transplant services until we have sufficient cardiologists with heart transplant expertise on staff to care for our patients across the full spectrum of transplantation and post-operative care.
Our heart transplant team and senior leadership remain fully committed to and focused on ensuring heart transplant patients have immediate and ongoing care. OHSU has been working with multiple transplant centers around the country, and as of Friday, Aug. 31, we can share:
- 20 of 20 patients on the heart transplant wait list either have transition plans in place or have elected not to transfer to another transplant center at this time.
- We will be meeting with five candidates for transplant evaluation to discuss their options for care.
- We are evaluating 327 post-transplant patients in various timeframes of care to address their immediate and ongoing care needs.
- We will be working with our patients who have existing long-term ventricular assist devices to discuss transitioning their care to other centers.
Patient notification and ongoing communication
We are notifying our patients by phone and by letter that we have made the decision to extend the inactivation of our Heart Transplant Program beyond the initial two-week period, effective Friday, Aug. 31. These communications have begun and will continue over the next several days.
Patients who are expecting, but have not yet received, a call from our transplant team regarding the extended inactivation are encouraged to call our cardiac care hotline, 1-833-674-8236, or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The OHSU cardiac care hotline will be staffed Friday, Aug. 31, through Friday, Sept. 7, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. After Sept. 7, hours of operation will be re-evaluated based on need.
Staffing and operations
While on inactive status, OHSU will not accept referrals or evaluate any new patients for transplant, accept donor hearts, implant long-term heart pumps, such as ventricular assist devices as a bridge to transplant, or perform heart transplant surgeries for patients on its wait list.
OHSU’s liver, pancreas, kidney and bone marrow transplant programs are not impacted by this decision in any way.
For patients requiring all other cardiovascular services, including complex cardiovascular and heart failure care, operations remain normal.
OHSU initially made the decision to pause for 14 days because we were aggressively pursuing every reasonable opportunity to reactivate the program in two weeks. Unfortunately, we now have three heart failure transplant cardiologists who will have departed OHSU, effective Sept. 30.
Consequently, for patients requiring heart transplants or long-term heart pumps, such as ventricular assist devices as a bridge to transplant, the Heart Transplant Program will not be adequately staffed to care for and support existing patients, and provide the full spectrum of transplantation and post-operative care on its own, effective Oct. 1.
All other OHSU Heart Transplant Program team members will continue to provide cardiovascular care and support. Their employment status will not be impacted by the extended inactivation.
The timeframe for reactivation is dependent on a number of requirements mandated by the United Network for Organ Sharing and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. A detailed accounting of which is described here.
OHSU has been diligently working to rebuild our Heart Transplant Program. We are actively 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 will continue to be transparent about our progress as we work to reactivate the program as quickly as possible.