August 29, 2019

Jewish Hospital is keeping their heart transplant program

By Matthew Keck —

KentuckyOne Health announced they would be cancelling their request to suspend the heart transplant program at Jewish Hospital Aug. 23.

“KentuckyOne Health is canceling a voluntary action to place its heart transplant program on long-term inactivation,” said the release. “The health care company had announced on July 18 that it would place the program on long-term inactivation but is now asking the United Network for Organ Sharing, the organization that manages the U.S. organ transplant system, to disregard that action.”

The program was initially slated to be suspended on Aug. 17. U of L announced intentions to keep the program running alongside their acquisition of KentuckyOne hospitals on Aug. 14.

“The heart transplant program is simply too important for our university, our community and the patients who are depending on this life-saving procedure,” University of Louisville President Neeli Bendapudi said in the release. “We thank KentuckyOne for working with us to maintain the program. We are taking steps to shore up our efforts, and very soon we will have a plan in place to ensure the viability of the program for the future.”

When U of L’s purchase of KentuckyOne assets is finalized on Nov. 1 they will assume control over the Certificate of Need for the transplant program.

“U of L has assured us it is committed to the heart transplant program,” Deborah Lee-Eddie, interim CEO, KentuckyOne Health Louisville Market said in the release. “As part of the transition planning U of L is working on strategies to increase volume for the heart transplant program.”

This will come as a relief to the over 32 patients on the waiting list seeing that they will not have to travel to another program. The only other transplant program in state is at the University of Kentucky.

Ken Dulnuan, MD, a cardiologist with University of Louisville Physicians, has been appointed as the medical director for the program.

Jewish Hospital and U of L have collaborated with the heart transplant program for over 35 years. Jewish Hospital performed the first heart transplant in Kentucky.

Last year U of L and KentuckyOne performed their 500th heart transplant.

All five transplant programs at Jewish Hospital will transfer to U of L Health upon closing of the purchase.

Matthew Keck // The Louisville Cardinal

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