Two milestones: one-year anniversary of heart transplants, CMS accreditation

Author: Daniel Oseran, M.D., executive medical director, Providence Heart Institute, Oregon

Providence Heart Institute this month is celebrating our one-year anniversary of providing heart transplants on the Providence St. Vincent campus, having performed 17 transplants since the program began in July, 2020. In addition, we received certification on June 23, 2021, from the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).

One year of performing heart transplants

Launching a successful heart transplant program has required a huge team of dedicated people throughout Providence, and the heart transplant program’s success is everyone’s success.

In addition to caregivers and providers at the entire Providence St. Vincent campus and Providence Heart Institute, the credit for a successful heart transplant program goes to regional leaders, generous donors who have supported the heart institute for many years, community partners and many others.

Of particular note are cardiologists in the community who entrust Providence Heart Institute to  help care for their patients, whether for heart failure or for one of our many other cardiac services. We are honored to work as your partner in caring for your patients and their families.

Launching a heart transplant program was a large, complex undertaking. There were 1,000 to 1,500 hours of large team meetings during 18 months among Providence St. Vincent and Providence regional departments to launch the program. From the beginning, we knew this would require a significant commitment across nearly every department within the hospital, as heart transplant patients need a broad range of services to meet their complex care needs.

As Jill Gelow, M.D., medical director of our Providence Heart Transplant Program, put it so well: “Adding heart transplant isn’t like adding another service line. You have to develop a culture of transplant, and everyone in the hospital plays a role.”

Here is an example of the commitment required across a typical hospital/health system when launching a heart transplant program:

*Illustration courtesy of Transplant Management Group

Although hundreds of Providence providers, leaders and caregivers were instrumental in launching our heart transplant program, special thanks go to:

  • Kevin Koomalsingh, M.D., surgical director of heart transplant
  • Jill Gelow, M.D., medical director of heart transplant
  • Jacob Abraham, M.D., medical director of heart failure
  • Angela Fish, RN, nurse manager of cardiovascular OR

Achieving CMS certification

The CMS review conducted by Oregon Health Authority surveyors examined the outcomes of 15 heart transplants performed at Providence St. Vincent Medical Center during the past 11 months.

Heart transplant programs must perform 10 transplants before they can apply for CMS certification, which is critical for reimbursement since many patients are government insured.

To prepare for the five-day CMS certification survey in late May and early June, a core group of 15-18 Providence Heart Institute leaders and caregivers worked with colleagues throughout the hospital.

The reviewers were impressed with the extensive infrastructure created to support the transplant program.

In patient interviews, surveyors noted patients and family members talked about the excellent care they received, and they felt the team really cared about them as individuals. Most importantly, patients said they felt safe and protected. 

The CMS certificate is meaningful because it says we’re doing everything right to care for our patients. The CMS surveyors were impressed and gave no recommendations for improvements.

The Providence Heart Transplant team is deeply grateful for everyone, both within Providence and in the community, who is instrumental in helping care for our vulnerable heart failure and heart transplant patients.

About the Author

The Pulse content team focuses on bringing you the latest in clinical news from our world-class medical providers and physician leaders.

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