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Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center’s Heart Transplant Program Back in Compliance with Medicare's Conditions of Participation

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HOUSTON (September 29, 2020) – The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has approved Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center as a certified provider of adult heart transplant services following a successful survey of the hospital’s facilities and operations. CMS notified hospital officials on September 23 that its heart transplant program meets the Conditions of Participation.

The certification of the program, which had been terminated in August of 2018, is the result of months of planning and collaboration between Baylor St. Luke’s and Baylor College of Medicine that led to significant changes in oversight and transparency, leadership, and the patient and donor selection criteria. Baylor St. Luke’s also made investments and improvements to its transplant quality assurance and performance improvement (QAPI) program, which takes a systematic, comprehensive, and data-driven approach and reflects the complexity of transplant services, and addresses all systems of care and management practices relevant to transplantation.

“This positive endorsement is a testament to our dedicated team of expert surgeons, cardiologists, nurses, social workers, financial counselors and other health professionals who consistently deliver exceptional, compassionate care to our patients – from intake to post-transplant follow-up treatments,” said Doug Lawson, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer of St. Luke’s Health. “We are proud to be among the few specialized institutions in the country that can provide patients with a second chance at life and the opportunity to lead active and productive lives and I am humbled that our patients have continued to trust us with their care.”

Baylor St. Luke’s has continued to perform successful heart transplants over the past two years. Over 40 heart transplants have been performed at Baylor St. Luke’s since October of 2018 with a current survival rate of 98 percent. The Transplant Center at Baylor St. Luke’s is a unique collaboration between the Texas Heart Institute, Baylor St. Luke’s, and Baylor College of Medicine, that ensures the best possible outcomes and strives for the highest quality of life for our patients.

“The heart transplant program at Baylor St. Luke’s provides an exceptional service to the community, as reflected in the data,” said Paul Klotman, M.D., president, CEO and executive dean of Baylor. “In the past two years, the transplant team, led by Baylor surgeons, has performed 40 heart transplants with a 98 percent survival rate. The hospital and Baylor have worked closely together as academic partners to make this one of our strongest programs.”

Baylor St. Luke’s heart transplant program has a rich history and legacy under heart transplant pioneering surgeon Dr. Denton Cooley. Its physicians and surgeons, led by Cooley, were some of the premier innovators of heart transplants and performed some of the world’s earliest heart transplant surgeries in the 1960s. The storied program has a variety of “firsts” to its credit, including: first successful heart transplantation in the U.S.; first implantation in the world of an artificial heart in a human; and first in the U.S. to implant a pacemaker with antibiotic protection.

Since 1982, Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center has been providing care to patients referred for heart, lung, kidney and liver transplantation as well as implantation of Left Ventricular Assist Devices. The transplant department provides a complete continuum of patient care, from initial counseling to post-transplant medical follow-up. Baylor St. Luke’s is among only three percent of acute care hospitals in the country that can offer comprehensive transplant services.

For more information about Baylor St. Luke’s comprehensive transplant program, visit


About Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center
Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center is an 881-bed quaternary care academic medical center that is a joint venture between Baylor College of Medicine and St. Luke’s Health. Located in the Texas Medical Center, the hospital is the home of the Texas Heart® Institute, a cardiovascular research and education institution founded in 1962 by Denton A. Cooley, MD. The hospital was the first facility in Texas and the Southwest designated a Magnet® hospital for Nursing Excellence by the American Nurses Credentialing Center, receiving the award five consecutive times. Baylor St. Luke’s also has two community emergency centers offering adult and pediatric care for the Greater Houston area.

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