Funds donated by Jewish Hospital & St. Mary’s Foundation
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Dec. 27, 2012) — Louisville’s Vascularized Composite Allograft (VCA) Program has received a $1.5 million grant from the Jewish Hospital & St. Mary’s Foundation.
The funds will allow for the continuation of the city’s hand transplant program, which is a partnership of physicians and researchers at Jewish Hospital, Kleinert Kutz Hand Care Center, the Christine M. Kleinert Institute (CMKI), and the University of Louisville. This team of physicians and researchers was the first to perform hand transplants in the United States, and are currently the world’s largest hand transplant program. The group has performed a total of nine hand transplants on eight patients including the world’s longest surviving hand transplant on Mr. Matt Scott, who is now nearly 14 years post-transplant.
[pullquote_left]“Without this grant, our program would likely have been unable to continue to offer these cutting-edge, life-changing procedures.” – Dr. Michael Marvin, director of transplantation at Jewish Hospital[/pullquote_left]
The $1.5 million will be used specifically to bring potential hand transplant recipients to Louisville for screening, performance of the hand transplantation surgery, and patient therapy and rehabilitation after surgery. There is currently one individual approved for a transplant and waiting for a donor, and seven individuals who could come to Louisville to be screened for eligibility. This funding will allow Louisville’s VCA program to accomplish its goal of performing two hand transplants per year.
“We are honored to receive this generous grant from the Jewish Hospital & St. Mary’s Foundation, which allows us to impact more lives through the gift of hand transplantation,” said Dr. Joseph Kutz, a founding partner of the Kleinert Kutz Hand Care Center, and president of the board of the Christine M. Kleinert Institute.
The funding comes at a critical time, according to Dr. Michael Marvin, director of transplantation at Jewish Hospital, associate professor of surgery at the University of Louisville.
“Insurance companies and Medicare/Medicaid do not yet cover hand transplantation surgery because it is still considered ‘experimental’ and not ‘standard of care,’” Marvin said. “Without this grant, our program would likely have been unable to continue to offer these cutting-edge, life-changing procedures. Our goal is to work with other teams throughout the country who are performing these procedures to establish hand transplantation as a procedure approved by insurance companies for reimbursement. We are thankful and honored to receive this crucial funding.”