LOUISVILLE, Ky. — KentuckyOne Health and the University of Louisville are working together to maintain the heart transplant program at Jewish Hospital.
KentuckyOne Health is canceling a voluntary action to place its heart transplant program on long-term inactivation. The healthcare company had announced on July 18 that it would place the program on long-term inactivation but is now asking the United Network for Organ Sharing, the organization that manages the U.S. organ transplant system, to disregard that action.
Following the signing of the Asset Purchase Agreement last week, KentuckyOne Health and UofL began discussions to maintain activation of the heart transplant program. On Nov. 1, UofL Health will assume leadership over Jewish Hospital, including its Certificate of Need for the transplant program.
“UofL has assured us it is committed to the heart transplant program,” said Deborah Lee-Eddie, interim CEO, KentuckyOne Health Louisville Market. “As part of the transition planning UofL is working on strategies to increase volume for the heart transplant program.”
Dr. Ken Dulnuan, a cardiologist with University of Louisville Physicians, has been appointed medical director for the program.
“The heart transplant program is simply too important for our university, our community and the patients who are depending on this life-saving procedure,” said UofL President Neeli Bendapudi. “We thank KentuckyOne for working with us to maintain the program. We are taking steps to shore up our efforts, and very soon we will have a plan in place to ensure the viability of the program for the future.”
Heart transplantation has been a collaborative program of both Jewish Hospital and UofL for more than 35 years. The first heart transplant in Kentucky took place on Aug. 24, 1984 at Jewish Hospital. Last year KentuckyOne and UofL celebrated a major milestone after the 500th heart was transplanted.
In addition to heart, Jewish Hospital performs transplants for lung, liver, kidney and pancreas, making it one of a select group of hospitals transplanting all five solid organs. All five programs will transfer to UofL Health upon closing of the purchase agreement.