The federal Health Care Financing Administration has designated the University of Maryland Medical Center as a Medicare-approved lung transplant center, which means that elderly patients who need the surgery no longer have to travel outside the mid-Atlantic region.
The University of Maryland Medical Center becomes the only Medicare-approved lung transplant center between Philadelphia and Durham, NC. It is the 24th in the nation. The designation covers patients who need single, double or combined heart-lung transplantation.
HCFA conducts a rigorous evaluation process before accepting a program for Medicare reimbursement. A medical center must perform at least 10 lung transplants a year for two years and must have a one-year patient survival rate above 63 percent.
At the University of Maryland Medical Center, where 38 lung transplants have been performed in the past two years, the one-year patient survival rate is 84 percent.
"The designation enables us to help more patients, especially those who live in the Baltimore-Washington area who otherwise would have to travel several hours away from home for their transplant," says John V. Conte, M.D., director of heart-lung transplant surgery at the University of Maryland Medical Center. According to the Transplant Resource Center of Maryland, there are more than 70 Marylanders on the waiting list for a lung or heart-lung transplant. Nationally, there are almost 2,800.
The University of Maryland Medical Center offers all of the advanced medical and surgical treatments available for patients with advanced lung disease, including transplantation, lung volume reduction surgery for emphysema and therapies for pulmonary hypertension.