Baylor St. Luke's replaces heart transplant program chief

Jeffrey Morgan, MD, the heart transplant program surgical director at Houston-based Baylor St. Luke's Medical Center, will no longer serve in his role. Instead, two new cardiothoracic surgeons and a prominent transplant program executive will work together to lead the program, the hospital said in an Oct. 19 press release obtained by Becker's Hospital Review.

The two surgeons, Kenneth Liao, MD, PhD, and Alexis Shafii, MD, will team up to take over the leadership role previously held by Dr. Morgan, who served in the role since 2016, according to the Houston Chronicle.

A Baylor St. Luke's spokesperson confirmed to the Houston Chronicle Dr. Morgan "no longer holds the title of 'surgical director, heart transplant & mechanical circulatory support' at Baylor St. Luke's Medical Center." She noted Dr. Morgan will remain a member of the medical staff.

The hospital also hired Deborah Maurer, RN, a 25-year transplant program administrator, to serve as vice president of transplantation — a newly created position designed to oversee the clinical and administrative operations for the hospital's organ transplant programs.

The leadership changes follow a series of investigative reports by the Houston Chronicle and ProPublica that delved into issues with the hospital's heart transplant program and the program's longtime leader O.H. "Bud" Frazier, MD.

The hospital temporarily suspended its heart transplant program in June. The program resumed roughly two weeks later. However, CMS cut off federal funding to the program in August after concluding Baylor St. Luke's leadership did not do enough to fix the issues that led to poor surgical outcomes within the program. Baylor St. Luke's is appealing the decision, according to the Houston Chronicle.

To access the full report, click here.

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