Medicare to terminate funding for Baylor St. Luke's heart transplant program

HOUSTON - The federal Medicare program notified Baylor St. Luke's Medical Center on Friday that it will cut off funding for heart transplants starting in August, according to the Houston Chronicle.

The newspaper reported that the Houston hospital is accused of not doing enough to fix shortcomings that endanger patients.

The news came after the program, once known as one of the nation's most renowned, was paused for two weeks while a committee conducted a review after recent deaths. Transplants resumed June 15.

Losing Medicare funding could cause private insurance companies to pull their funding, which would mean that patients on a waiting list would either have to pay out of pocket or transfer to another hospital, according to the Chronicle.

Hospital officials issued the following statement about Friday's news:

"Baylor St. Luke’s only just received a response from CMS regarding our recent plan of improvements for our heart transplant program. We look forward to the opportunity to review our proposals with CMS, and discuss any of their concerns. Our unwavering focus is always to ensure our patients receive the best possible medical care, and in ways that reflect our core values of reverence, integrity, compassion, and excellence."

Editor's note: This article has been edited to add attribution to the Houston Chronicle.

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