Baylor St. Luke's heart transplant trouble — A timeline

After a joint investigation by ProPublica and the Houston Chronicle revealed care deficiencies at Houston-based Baylor St. Luke's heart transplant program, the organization saw several leadership departures and a loss of CMS funding, among other issues.

The publications began investigating the hospital in early 2018, publishing the first article in a series of stories documenting lapses in care in Baylor St. Luke's heart transplant program. The publications' first story, published in May 2018, claimed that the hospital, which is historically renowned for its advancements in the field, has one of the worst survival rates for patients in the nation.

Here is a timeline of major events involving Baylor St. Luke's heart transplant program during the past year:

June 2018

Houston hospital suspends heart transplants after recent deaths: 7 things to know
Baylor St. Luke's, part of Englewood, Colo.-based Catholic Health Initiatives, put its heart transplant program on a 14-day inactive status June 1, about two weeks after ProPublica and the Houston Chronicle published the first article in their series.

Houston hospital's Medicare funding in jeopardy
The hospital learned June 22 that it may lose federal funding for its heart transplant program.

July 2018

Houston hospital's heart transplant program to lose Medicare funding Aug. 17
CMS said in a July 16 letter that it would cut off Medicare funding for Baylor St. Luke's heart transplant program Aug. 17.

September 2018

Famed Baylor St. Luke's surgeon linked to 2015 heart transplant patient deaths
The publications obtained documents connecting famed Baylor St. Luke's heart transplant surgeon O.H. "Bud" Frazier, MD, to a rash of patient deaths at the hospital in 2015.

Houston hospital appeals loss of federal funding for heart transplants
The hospital filed an administrative appeal with CMS on Sept. 14, about a month after the agency terminated the heart transplant program's Medicare and Medicaid funding.

October 2018

Baylor St. Luke's replaces heart transplant program chief
The hospital announced Oct. 19 that Jeffrey Morgan, MD, the heart transplant program surgical director, would no longer serve in his role. Instead, hospital officials said two new cardiothoracic surgeons and a prominent transplant program executive would lead the program.

CMS cites Baylor St. Luke's for defibrillator issues during patient's heart transplant
CMS cited Baylor St. Luke's for not keeping working defibrillator paddles in its operating room during a heart transplant for a patient who died two months after surgery.

December 2018

Baylor St. Luke's exaggerated quality of heart transplant program, lawsuit alleges
The family of a Texas man who died from a failed heart transplant in 2017 filed a lawsuit against the hospital, alleging officials exaggerated the quality of Baylor St. Luke's heart transplant program to lure patients.

January 2019

Baylor St. Luke's continues leadership restructuring — 3 executive appointments
Roughly three months after announcing the heart transplant program chief's departure, Baylor St. Luke's added three executives to its leadership team.

February 2019

CMS to take more aggressive role in enforcing safety at Baylor St. Luke's
A CMS inspection found Baylor St. Luke's violated patient care requirements and said state and federal officials would start taking a more aggressive role in enforcing safety standards.

Baylor St. Luke's pledges reforms after medical error leads to patient death
A CMS inspection revealed staff at Baylor St. Luke's Medical Center made more than 100 mistakes in labeling blood during a four-month period.

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