Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

St. Luke's Adds Hearts to Transplant Program Hospital Evaluating Potential Patients

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

St. Luke's Adds Hearts to Transplant Program Hospital Evaluating Potential Patients

Article excerpt

Mayo Clinic and St. Luke's Hospital opened a heart transplant program yesterday after receiving final approval from the United Network of Organ Sharing.

St. Luke's is the admitting hospital for the Mayo Clinic.

St. Luke's is the only heart transplant program in Jacksonville since the now-defunct University Medical Center lost its program. The hospital is evaluating potential cardiac patients for the patient list.

The addition of the program puts St. Luke's one step closer to being a complete organ transplant center. St. Luke's transplant abilities now include heart, liver, kidney, pancreas and bone marrow transplants. It plans on adding lung transplants to its list in March.

"We're pleased to add hearts to the list of transplantation services we now provide to this growing metropolitan area," said Lawrence McBride, director of the program.

The heart transplant program will feature 75 new staff positions. Hiring of the transplant team is almost complete. To accommodate the new services, a new transplant center with 24 exam rooms and 25 offices will open on the St. Luke's campus in March.

The project costs are estimated to be $840,000, mostly for equipment, according to the state agency report. The program is expected to have an annual operating cost of about $1.5 million.

The long-awaited announcement follows an initial state agency denial and strong opposition from other transplant hospitals.

UNOS, a non-profit organization that coordinates the organ transplant list for the nation, and the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration had to approve St. Luke's application before it could open a program. The state agency gave its approval in December 1999.

The AHCA revoked University Medical Center's heart transplant program in October 1999 because it did not conduct the minimum number of transplants. …

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