The University of Toledo Medical Center has been given official word that its donor transplant program is in compliance for participation in Medicare and Medicaid programs, and it will begin live-donor kidney transplants within the next 10 days.
Live-donor kidney transplants were suspended voluntarily in August at UTMC after a viable kidney was thrown away during a surgery. The incident led to a bevy of policy and procedure reviews at the medical center and site visits by oversight bodies.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services notified UTMC officials in a letter received Thursday that UTMC is in compliance with Medicare requirements for transplant centers. Dr. Jeffrey Gold, chancellor and executive vice president for biosciences and health affairs, told university staff about the findings on Friday and updated University of Toledo Board of Trustees members at a Monday board meeting.
“There is a very long waiting list of patients awaiting transplantation,” Dr. Gold said. He added that human error caused the Aug. 10 incident, and it will make the former Medical College of Ohio stronger because of the systemic review of operations it sparked.
In other news, hundreds of open university positions will be scrutinized before they are filled, and some may remain vacant as UT administrators look to trim costs to reduce a budget shortfall.
The university plans to reduce costs by about $36 million before the end of fiscal year 2014, with $10 million in cuts eyed for this fiscal year because of a projected budget shortfall of that amount. University President Lloyd Jacobs estimated about 800 jobs were open at the end of December. Dr. Jacobs said UT has no hiring freeze but departments must justify the need to fill positions.
The university managed to reduce administrative costs by about $1 million through attrition and the elimination of eight positions, along with the reduction of two full-time positions into part-time jobs, said David Dabney, the university’s chief financial officer and vice president for finance.
In November, UT officials projected a $13 million budget shortfall for the fiscal year. The deficit shrank as new estimates came in; reduced utility costs and stricter hiring practices also were factors, a university spokesman said.
If the university retains more students than expected between the fall and spring semesters, the deficit may shrink again, the spokesman said.
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