Banner-UMC Tucson regains lung transplant certification from CMS

CMS has re-certified Banner-University Medical Center Tucson in Arizona to perform lung transplants. The medical center voluntarily shuttered its transplant program and gave up CMS certification to perform the procedure in 2014, according to

The lung transplant program in Tucson remained consistent for nearly 11 years, peaking in 2011 when a record 26 transplants were performed at the medical center. The number sank to two the following year, and tallied only one transplant in 2013. In 2014, the hospital (then known as University of Arizona Medical Center) voluntarily shut down the program after a surgeon dispute.

In 2015, officials decided to restart the lung transplant program after the medical center joined forces with Phoenix-based Banner Health and a new surgeon, Scott Lick, MD, was in charge of the transplant program, according to the report.

Banner-UMC Tucson had to reapply to regain CMS certification, which it did after surgeons at the hospital performed 10 lung transplants between 2015 and 2016. During that process, Banner was completely transparent with patients about its lack of federal certification.

After the transplants and an unannounced site visit in the spring, CMS approved the hospital for lung transplants.  

With the Tucson campus's re-certification, patients will now be able to choose between three different facilities to have the procedure: Banner-UMC Tucson and Phoenix-based St. Joseph's Hospital have federal certification, and the Mayo Clinic in Phoenix must first complete 10 procedures before the facility can officially be federally certified.

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