Saint Luke's achieves liver transplantation CMS certification

Oct 02, 2013, 11:33 ET from Saint Luke's Hospital of Kansas City

Certification recognizes expertise in liver disease management and transplantation

KANSAS CITY, Mo., Oct. 2, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The liver transplantation program at Saint Luke's Hospital of Kansas City has received certification by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS). The certification is an important step in enhancing the hospital's ability to care for Medicare-covered patients suffering from end-stage liver disease, and attract other insurers who base their coverage on the CMS certification.

CMS is the federal agency responsible for administering Medicare, Medicaid, and other health-related programs. To earn certification as a site for liver transplantation, the Saint Luke's program underwent rigorous review that assessed the hospital's clinical expertise and patient outcomes, as well as all protocols related to recipient/donor selection processes, and patient outcomes.

The designation requires that a program complete a number of transplants over time and can submit at least a year of program data.

Saint Luke's added liver transplantation to its existing heart and kidney transplant programs in 2011. Wait times for liver transplant are among the shortest in the nation. Patients at Saint Luke's wait an average of four months compared to the national average of one year for a liver transplant.

"Achieving CMS status is a vital endorsement of the entire team's expertise and dedication to providing the very best in care for patients with end-stage liver disease," said Henry Randall, M.D., director of abdominal transplantation and hepatobiliary surgery.

Saint Luke's Hospital CEO Julie Quirin added. "This is an important next step in the evolution of our comprehensive transplant referral center and will improve access to liver transplant services for patients in Kansas City and the surrounding area."

Nationally, close to 16,000 individuals are on wait lists for liver transplants, according to the Organ Procurement and Transplant Network. Saint Luke's Hospital is located in Region 8, where more than 1,200 patients are currently waiting on a liver for transplantation.

The American Liver Foundation says that liver disease affects people of all ages and is caused by viruses, genetic factors, unhealthy lifestyle choices, medicines, and toxic substances. One in 10 Americans has some form of liver disease such as Hepatitis C, non alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), or liver cancer. According to Dr. Randall, NAFLD is on the rise, as is primary liver cancer, associated with chronic Hepatitis C infection. "NAFLD is expected to become the primary indication for transplant by 2020."

The dedicated liver transplant team includes Dr. Randall, who joined Saint Luke's from Baylor Regional Transplant Institute in Dallas in 2010. Dr. Randall serves as director of abdominal transplantation and hepatobiliary surgery (liver, gall bladder, bile ducts, and pancreas). Fredric Regenstein, M.D., former medical director of liver transplantation at Tulane University Hospital and Clinic in New Orleans, is the medical director of transplant hepatology. The surgical team also includes Christie Gooden, M.D., who joined the program from the University of Michigan Health System, and Lee S. Cummings, M.D., previously with the Georgetown University Hospital in Washington, D.C. Additional members of the team include Laura Alba, M.D., associate medical director - liver transplantation, and gastroenterologist/hepatologist John Helzberg, M.D.

The core team also includes a physician's assistant, nurse practitioner, transplant coordinators, a social worker, pharmacists, dietitian, chaplain, and transplant financial specialists provide additional care and support through the Henry & Marion Bloch Liver Disease Management & Transplant Center.

The program collaborates with basic science and clinical research entities to provide patients the very latest in innovative techniques, procedures, and medicines.

Saint Luke's has performed kidney transplants since 1969 and is the oldest and most experienced kidney transplant program in the region. The heart transplant program — the only adult program in the area — was initiated in 1985 and consistently ranks among the top 10 centers nationwide for outcomes and the number of adult transplants.

For more information about transplant services at Saint Luke's Hospital, visit

Saint Luke's Hospital is a member of Saint Luke's Health System, which consists of 10 area hospitals and many primary care practices, and provides a range of inpatient, outpatient, and home care services. Founded as a faith-based, not-for-profit organization, our mission includes a commitment to the highest levels of excellence in health care and the advancement of medical research and education. The health system is an aligned organization in which the physicians and hospitals assume responsibility for enhancing the physical, mental, and spiritual health of people in the metropolitan Kansas City area and the surrounding region

SOURCE Saint Luke's Hospital of Kansas City