Members of The Christ Hospital Health Network Heart Transplant Team.

The Christ Hospital Health Network’s Heart Transplant Program Receives Certification from Centers for Medicare and Medicaid

Certification Comes After Thorough Review of Heart Transplant Program

Cincinnati (April 1, 2024) – The Christ Hospital Health Network’s heart transplant program has received certification from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS). The certification allows for the expansion of future heart failure patients’ access to heart transplant within the network.

Surveyors from CMS conducted a quality review of the program, evaluating procedures, care, standards and outcomes. Officials looked at 22 heart transplants that were performed at The Christ Hospital Health Network over 15 months. This certification allows for patients to move forward that are on government insurances plans and is often a requirement for those privately insured.

“Today’s announcement of certification of The Christ Hospital Heart Transplant Program will provide better access to care for local and regional heart failure patients in need of this life-saving procedure,” said Debbie Hayes, President and CEO of The Christ Hospital Health Network. “This achievement shows our heart and vascular institute has everything it takes to fill a critical need for successful heart transplants in our community.”

The Christ Hospital Health Network was approved by the United Network of Organ Sharing (UNOS) to start its new heart transplant program on October 6, 2022. The first heart transplant was performed on November 5, 2022. As of March 18, 2024, The Christ Hospital Health Network has performed 24 heart transplants.

“High quality heart transplant surgery requires an expert team of surgeons, transplant coordinators, cardiologists, nurses, intensive care team members and additional talented caregivers,” said Dean Kereiakes, MD, FACC, MSCAI, Chairman of The Christ Hospital Heart and Vascular Institute. “As our program continues to grow, heart failure patients can be assured that they will receive exceptional outcomes from The Christ Hospital Health Network.”

In 2022, The Christ Hospital Health Network welcomed nationally recognized heart transplant specialists: Geetha Bhat, MD, Medical Director of The Christ Hospital Heart Transplant Program & Robert Dowling, MD, Surgical Director of The Christ Hospital Heart Transplant Program and Chris and Trey Heekin Family Endowed Chair for Cardiac Transplantation to the team of cardiovascular disease experts.

“We are excited at the news of our certification for our heart transplant program,” said Dr. Bhat. “We knew we had the resources to grow a robust program for heart failure patients in Greater Cincinnati. As we expand, we hope this certification brings much needed care to more people.”

Heart disease remains the leading cause of death in the United States. An estimated 6.5 million Americans live with heart failure and an additional 1 million are diagnosed with heart failure every year. Annually, about 8,000 Americans need a new heart to survive, but with the limited supply of donor hearts, only an estimated 3,500 transplants are performed. At least half of all patients remaining on a transplant list die within several years of diagnosis.

“This certification ensures that we have and will continue to uphold the highest expectations of care for heart failure patients,” said Dr. Dowling “The Christ Hospital continues to lead the way for heart transplant in Cincinnati and the larger region. We look forward to continuing that care for years to come.”

If you or someone you love has questions about heart failure or wants to schedule a consultation with The Christ Hospital Heart Transplant Center, call 513-585-2493 or click here to visit our heart transplant website.

About The Christ Hospital Health Network

The Christ Hospital Health Network consists of an acute care hospital located in Mt. Auburn, a remote hospital location in Liberty Township, five ambulatory outpatient centers and dozens of medical offices throughout the region. For more than 130 years, The Christ Hospital has provided compassionate care to those it serves. Made up for more than 1,300 physicians and more than 6,500 team members, our mission is to improve the health of our community by providing exceptional outcomes in an affordable way. The Network was recognized by U.S. News & World Report as the #1 hospital in the Cincinnati Region and named to Newsweek’s World’s Best Hospitals list in 2024. It is also a Press Ganey Guardian of Excellence Award recipient, which recognizes top-performing healthcare organizations that achieve the 95th percentile or above of performance in patient experience.