OHSU's heart transplant program suspended indefinitely

Portland, Ore.-based OHSU's heart transplant program will remain inactive until the program's staffing needs are met, system officials said in a prepared statement Aug. 31. The extension went into effect the same day.

OHSU announced Aug. 28 it had temporarily suspended its heart transplant program for at least 14 days, citing staffing shortages as four heart failure transplant cardiologists on the institution's team had left or plan to leave by the end of September. All other OHSU heart transplant program team members will continue to provide cardiovascular care and support.

The institution told Becker's Hospital Review Sept. 1 that heart failure transplant cardiologists Jonathan Davis, MD; James Mudd, MD; and Divya Soman, MD, will leave the institution by Sept. 30, while Jill Gelow, MD, departed OHSU several months ago.

In their prepared statement, OHSU officials said they have notified the United Network for Organ Sharing System and CMS of their decision to extend the program's suspension. Officials also said all 20 patients on the program's waitlist either have transition plans in place or have elected not to transfer to other institutions. The five candidates for transplant evaluation have also met with OHSU officials to discuss their options for care.

OHSU is in the process of notifying patients by phone and letter of the program's extended inactivation, and said a team will staff the institution's cardiac care hotline from Aug. 31 through Sept. 7.

The system's liver, pancreas, kidney and bone marrow transplant programs are not affected by the decision.

"OHSU has been diligently working to rebuild our heart transplant program. We are actively recruiting new heart failure and heart transplantation specialists. For confidentiality reasons, OHSU cannot disclose whether we have candidates in any stage of recruitment, and we cannot communicate about any imminent appointments until contracts are signed. We will continue to be transparent about our progress as we work to reactivate the program as quickly as possible," the system said in its prepared statement.

To access the full statement, click here.

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