JCMC to end organ transplant service


JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. – After many months of careful evaluation, Johnson City Medical Center (JCMC) officials announced this week that the hospital will begin phasing out its transplant program, with organ transplant procedures to cease Nov. 4, 2011.

“We have been in discussion with the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) over the past several months, and with their help, we evaluated the entire service to determine whether continuing to offer this service is the best strategy going forward,” said Candace Jennings, Mountain States Health Alliance (MSHA) senior vice president of Tennessee operations. “Unfortunately in this market, we do not have sufficient patient volumes to allow us to maintain the highest standard of treatment for this extremely specialized procedure as a larger, more active transplant center would. We have determined that the best option for our patients is to help them access services at a larger center that performs these procedures on a more frequent basis.”

For post-operative transplant patients who are still receiving follow-up care, JCMC will continue to provide those services for up to one year as needed, while helping those patients identify the best referral center to meet their ongoing needs. For transplant candidates who are still waiting for an organ, the hospital will help identify the best transplant program for each patient and assist in the care transfer process. Patients who are already on the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) waiting list can be assured that their status on the wait list is secure. JCMC will cover transportation costs for pre- and post-operative patients’ initial visit to the referral center.

“We are sad to see the end of this service, which provided a great benefit for a small population of patients in our region,” said Jennings. “But the leadership of MSHA and JCMC places the highest priority on patient care, and we believe that this dec ision is in the best interest of the patient.”

JCMC first began offering kidney and pancreas transplant procedures in 1990. Surgeons have completed more than 600 transplants since the program’s inception.

About Mountain States Health Alliance
Mountain States Health Alliance, a not-for-profit health care organization based in Johnson City, Tenn., operates a family of hospitals serving a 29-county, four-state region (Northeast Tennessee, Southwest Virginia, Southeastern Kentucky and Western North Carolina). MSHA offers a large tertiary hospital, several community hospitals, two critical access hospitals, rehabilitation, a children’s hospital, a behavioral health hospital, home care and hospice services as well as a comprehensive medical management corporation. Its 13,500 team members, associated physicians and volunteers are committed to its mission of bringing loving care to health care. For more information, visit www.msha.com.
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