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Advocate Christ Medical Center news

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It's Official! Advocate Christ Medical Center Receives Notice: Heart Transplant Now Medicare-Approved

Oak Lawn, Ill. – The heart transplant program at Advocate Christ Medical Center has been approved by the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), making the program eligible for Medicare reimbursement.  The approval follows a CMS certification survey visit earlier this year when federal surveyors conducted a comprehensive assessment of the heart transplant program.

The medical center became eligible for consideration as a Medicare-approved heart transplant center after performing 16 heart transplants (well beyond the 10 required) during a 12-month period in 2011.

“We are excited to have achieved certification.  It is a huge win for this medical center.   Our success is testament to the hard work and commitment of not only our outstanding heart transplant team, but of all those health professionals and staff whose work touches the patient on a daily basis – from bedside care to environmental services,” said Geetha Bhat MD, medical director of the Center for Heart Transplant and Assist Devices at Christ Medical Center. 

The heart transplant team includes six dedicated transplant surgeons, four cardiologists, seven advanced practice nurses who provide both pre- and post-transplant care, two social workers, a psychologist, pharmacist, dietitian, perfusionists, physician consulting teams representing a host of specialties, and the staff of two nursing units.

“It literally takes a village of medical staff to make transplant work,” said Michele Martin MSN, transplant and VAD (ventricular assist device) administrator at Christ Medical Center. 

Since the medical center initiated its heart transplant program just over six years ago, its team has performed 46 heart transplant surgeries.  The total includes the 11 heart transplants that the medical center conducted in 2012.  Meanwhile, the campus remains one of the largest VAD centers in the United States, implanting the devices in both patients who have severe heart failure and are awaiting transplantation and in those who are not candidates for heart transplant surgery, but whose hearts require mechanical assist.

The medical center averages 80-90 LVAD implants a year.  Last year, it performed 93 such implantations.

“That we have so successfully undergone and passed such a rigorous, federal approval process demonstrates that we are able to provide residents of the Southland with the same high level, quality of care as any university-based transplant program in the Chicago region,” Martin said.

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About Advocate Christ Medical Center
Advocate Christ Medical Center is part of Advocate Health Care, which is one of the nation’s leading health care networks. A not-for-profit, 694-bed, premier teaching institution with more than 1,000 affiliated physicians, Christ Medical Center is a leader in health care and one of the major referral hospitals in the Midwest in a number of specialties, including cardiovascular services, heart and kidney transplantation, neurosciences, oncology, orthopedics and women’s health. The hospital also has one of the busiest Level I trauma centers in Illinois providing emergency care for more than 90,000 patient visits annually and is a leader in breakthrough technologies, including eICU® (electronic intensive care unit) monitoring, robotic da Vinci Surgery System® and CyberKnife® Radiosurgery.  In both 2012 and 2013, the medical center was named to the Truven Health 100 Top Hospitals®, while U.S. News & World Report ranked the medical center among the nation’s leading providers for cardiology and heart surgery and for geriatric medicine and ranked it fourth overall among hospitals in the state of Illinois. The hospital is also recognized by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) as a Magnet Center. Magnet status represents the highest honor in the nursing profession. To obtain more information or to visit our newsroom, log on to:

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