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February 19, 2016

Jefferson Hospital suspends heart transplants to redesign program

Patients will maintain wait list positions while program deactivates for six to nine months

Hospitals Surgery
011315_Jefferson_Carroll Thom Carroll/for PhillyVoice

Jefferson University Hospital in Center City Philadelphia.

Thomas Jefferson University Hospital announced Friday that it will temporarily suspend its heart transplant program as it undertakes a significant redesign of its services.

The voluntary deactivation, which will last between six and nine months, provides the hospital a sufficient timeframe to recruit additional surgeons and cardiologists while expanding its clinical support teams and evaluating its physical plant and operational needs, according to a news release.

“Every facet of healthcare delivery in our country is changing, and transplant care is no exception,” said Jefferson Health Chief Medical Officer Anne Docimo, M.D., MBA. “We look forward to working with our hospital partners, affiliates and like-minded physicians and clinicians who share our vision to radically rethink how we care for patients with advanced heart failure – before, during and after transplant.”

A hospital official gave reassurance that no patients will lose accumulated time on the wait list and all will continue to receive the care they require while the program is offline.

In the meantime, Jefferson will work closely with the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) to ensure that patients on the hospital's heart transplant wait list can transition to other heart transplant programs in the area. Employees and physicians in Jefferson's heart transplant program will participate in the operational, logistical and programmatic expansion of the program, while all other Jefferson transplant programs will continue without interruption.

“We are proud of our heart transplant program and the many lives we have saved and families we’ve touched. We regret our program must take a temporary pause for us to achieve the innovation we envision,” said Rohinton J. Morris, M.D., Chief of Cardiothoracic Surgery at Jefferson Health. “Expanding our program to better meet the needs of the regional transplant community and to increase both the number of patients and complexity of cases we can treat is a clinical imperative for our organization.”

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