Beaumont's liver tranpslant program earns Medicare approval


Beaumont Health System's liver transplantation program recently received approval from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. This approval comes less than two years after surgeons performed their first liver transplant.

Explains Alan Koffron, M.D., interim chair of Surgery, Beaumont Health System and director, Multi-Organ Transplantation, "This is monumental for our institution. Only a handful of centers have achieved Medicare approval since the mid-1990s. CMS standards are high, as they have become the benchmark for all other insurance companies when it comes to reimbursement. This is the final seal of approval."

Beaumont received initial approval for a liver transplant program in October 2007 from the Michigan Department of Community Health's Certificate of Need Commission. In 2008, Beaumont hired and appointed Dr. Koffron to head up Multi-Organ Transplantation. Dr. Koffron recruited a transplant surgeon from Georgetown University Hospital, Vandad Raofi, M.D.; and two liver specialists from the University of Alabama, Mohamad Al Sibae, M.D.; and the University of Arkansas, Wael Refai, M.D. The team performed their first liver transplant in August of 2010.

Since the inception of the liver transplant program, the medical team has performed 24 procedures.

Liver transplants are unique because the liver is the only organ in the body that can regenerate itself. Surgeons can transplant 50 - 60 percent of a donor liver and it will grow to 70 percent of its size within two weeks.

One in 10 Americans has been affected by liver disease. In 2011, 6,342 liver transplants were performed in the United States, 186 of those in Michigan. Nationwide about 16,089 Americans are waiting for a liver transplant. That total includes 357 Michigan residents.

Beaumont's Multi-Organ Transplantation program performed 16 liver and 52 kidney transplants in 2011.

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