Veteran left with $50K bill after VA refuses to perform his kidney transplant

Obie Moore, a 73-year-old retired army sergeant exposed to Agent Orange while serving in the Vietnam War, was forced to partially cover the costs of a kidney transplant at a hospital in Atlanta after the Department of Veterans Affairs refused to perform and cover the transplant, according to Fox 5 Atlanta.

Here are four things to know:

1. Mr. Moore started dialysis in the 1950s and was put on the VA's kidney transplant list in 2015. However, the VA removed him from the list after learning he needed a heart stent. Mr. Moore said the agency told him it would put him back on the list once he was off blood thinners for a year and passed a stress test.

2. Instead, the VA sent a letter to Mr. Moore indicating "he was no longer a candidate for the waitlist, due to heart issues," according to Fox 5 Atlanta.

3. Mr. Moore took his medical records to Atlanta-based Piedmont Hospital, where he received a new kidney in July. Medicare paid for 80 percent of his transplant bills, leaving Mr. Moore with the remaining 20 percent, or about $50,000. If he underwent the procedure at his local VA hospital, the surgery would've been completely covered.

4. The VA said in a written statement to Fox 5 Atlanta it bases "independent decisions regarding the eligibility of any individual candidate" on National Organ transplant policy.

"We referred the patient to the transplant program, which is our normal process," the VA said in the statement. "The patient elected to see a provider of his own choice due to his disagreement."

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