Medicare Reimbursements for Heart Transplant Cases Continue Uninterrupted at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center

April 19, 2007

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has announced that reimbursements for Medicare heart transplant cases performed at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center will continue uninterrupted.

The program at Wake Forest Baptist was one of several cited by the CMS in 2006 for not meeting CMS standards and being at risk of losing Medicare reimbursement for heart transplant procedures. At the time, the medical center was in the process of re-tooling its congestive heart failure and heart transplant program, investing heavily in equipment and clinical personnel.

“Clearly this is a favorable outcome and reflects the hard work of all members of our team,” said Vinay Thohan, M.D., associate professor of cardiology and medical director of the Congestive Heart Failure and Cardiac Transplant Program at Wake Forest Baptist. “Our institution is completely committed to the program and the patients we serve. Heart transplantation is an important part of the range of advanced cardiac care we provide.”

Thohan and his team extended the heart transplant program’s referral network into the community resulting in numerous heart transplant evaluations and identified several potential transplant patients. Three patients received new hearts in 2006. One other congestive heart failure patient received a ventricular assist device and successfully recovered enough heart function to be removed from the device without the need for a heart transplant.

“We have a team goal to exceed all CMS standards,” said Thohan.

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Media contact: Jim Steele,, Shannon Koontz,; Karen Richardson,, (336) 716-4587.

Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center is an academic health system comprised of North Carolina Baptist Hospital and Wake Forest University Health Sciences, which operates the university’s School of Medicine. The system comprises 1,238 acute care, psychiatric, rehabilitation and long-term care beds and is consistently ranked as one of “America’s Best Hospitals” by U.S. News & World Report.

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