Feds Pull Medicare Funding From Wake Forest Heart Transplant Program

Federal health officials are pulling Medicare funding from the heart transplant program at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center because of poor performance.

The U-S Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services sent letters yesterday notifying the heart transplant program in Winston-Salem and at Montefiore Medical Center in New York that they will lose their funding.

A program at St. Louis University Hospital agreed to withdraw from the program.

The three medical centers failed to perform at least 12 heart transplants each last year, which is the federal standard for ensuring competency. Wake Forest performed two.

In addition, Wake Forest's one-year patient survival rate was well below the federal requirement of 73 percent.

Medicare's chief medical officer says the programs have 30 days to challenge the government's action.

A spokesman for Wake Forest says the program will continue despite the loss of funds.