assisting your patient through the transplant process
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Assisting Your Patient Through the Transplant Process. Why Does a Patient Choose Transplant. Avoid dialysis Improve quality of life Continuation of life goals Work Family Hobbies/interests/travel Fewer diet restrictions Live longer Doctor or staff tells them to do it

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why does a patient choose transplant
Why Does a Patient Choose Transplant

Avoid dialysis

Improve quality of life

Continuation of life goals




Fewer diet restrictions

Live longer

Doctor or staff tells them to do it

They have a living donor

Family pressures

waiting list 5 3 10
Waiting List 5/3/10

All 107,223

Kidney 84,672

Pancreas 1,455

Kidney/Pancreas 2,181

Liver 15,954

Intestine 244

Heart 3,143

Lung 1,841

Heart/Lung 81

waiting times
Waiting Times

O >1771 days (approx. 5 years)

A >1144 days

B >2003 days (approx. 5 years)

AB >732 days

improving transplant outcome begins long before the transplant
Improving Transplant Outcome Begins Long Before the Transplant

Assess the whole picture

Individualized Plan

Assessment of resources

Plan to meet need

Medical contraindications

Psychosocial contraindications



Adherence to medical recommendations

Mental Health/Psychiatric Issues

Depression; Substance abuse

psychological issues
Psychological Issues
  • Psychological or Psychiatric evaluation recommended
    • Substance abuse, psychiatric history
    • Will patient be able to adhere to medical recommendations for transplant
  • Ongoing counseling indicated to adapt to transplant regimen
  • Adherence assessment and plan
what the dialysis social worker can do and why
What the dialysis social worker can do and why

Kidney Health Care

Apply even if it’s only for travel

AKF can no longer pay for Medicare supplement after transplant.

Usually patient cannot pay and supplement ends.

KHC will pay 20% for anti-rejection meds not covered by Medicare Part B if patient does not have Medicare supplement.

If patient loses EGHP, KHC will cover 4 meds with EGHP termination notice.

When transplant patients need meds, they need them quickly to avoid transplant rejection!

what the dialysis social worker can do and why1
What the dialysis social worker can do and why
  • Keep KHC record updated with current insurance, including Medicare supplement info.
    • If this is not kept up to date, billing for anti-rejection meds can be billed incorrectly immediately following transplant. This can cause patient not to get anti-rejection medications.
what the dialysis social worker can do and why2
What the dialysis social worker can do and why

Choose the most cost effective Medicare supplement possible

If there is any chance of patient paying this cost post transplant, it needs to be the lowest cost possible

Educate yourself on changes to the supplement plans. Several will no longer cover full 20% co-insurance.

Assess for Medicaid/QMB/SLMB/QI-1

Educate the patient re AKF and post transplant guidelines

costs and side effects

Costs and Side Effects

For your knowledge and background

anti rejection medications cost without insurance
Anti-rejection Medications (cost without insurance)

These meds remain covered under Medicare Part B for most people rather than Part D.

side effects of medications
Side Effects of Medications

swelling of feet, hands, abdomen, or face


mood swings

trouble sleeping

tremors (shaking)

nausea, diarrhea


unwanted hair growth

increased appetite

changes in fat and sugar metabolism

weight gain

hair loss

high blood pressure

gum overgrowth

tingling hands and feet


increased risk of infection

increased risk of cancer

some medical costs that come with transplant
Some Medical Costs that come with Transplant

the hospital stay and surgery (Medicare deductible, $1100)

additional hospital stays for complications (Medicare deductible, $1100 per 60 day admission)

follow-up care and testing

anti-rejection and other drugs, which can easily exceed $10K per year;

fees for surgeons, physicians, radiologist, and anesthesiologist

insurance deductibles, out of pocket expenses and co-payments (Medicare and/or Employer Group Health Plan)

other meds commonly prescribed at discharge
Other Meds Commonly Prescribed at Discharge

Should be covered under a patient’s Medicare Part D plan. Include these if you are helping a pre-transplant patient determine the best Part D plan.

part d and other creditable coverage
Part D and other Creditable Coverage
  • Issues of having both Part D and EGHP
    • Denial of coverage
    • COB
  • Auto enrollment in Medicare Part D if enrolled in Medicaid even temporarily

A transplant does not mean the end to seeing doctors, going to clinic, taking lots of pills, staying on a diet, etc.

what to expect
What to Expect
  • The first 3-4 months after transplant can be a difficult period for the patient and the family
  • 50% of people go back into the hospital at least once during the first 6 months post op
    • Rejection episodes can be anticipated
  • Debt accrues due to loss of insurance, loss of wages, medical costs
what to expect1
What to Expect
  • Problems with access to insurance
    • Medicare terminates 36 months after transplant unless the patient has another disability or if over 65
  • After Medicare ends, options include
    • EGHP
    • High risk insurance pools
    • VA
    • Medicaid
help the patient prepare early for return to employment
Help the Patient Prepare Earlyfor Return to Employment

Social Security Review usually occurs within 12-18 months after transplant.

If patient was disabled solely on ESRD, they will no longer be considered disabled as early as 12 months following transplant.

LTD will also end unless there is an ongoing disability.

Help the patient to begin thinking of rehabilitation early

help the patient remember
Help the patient remember..
  • To receive full Medicare benefits for a transplant, you must go to a Medicare approved facility
    • If the person has their transplant in another country, Medicare Part B will not cover the anti-rejection medications
    • The anti-rejection meds create huge problems with Part D donut hole
  • Medicare Part D does not cover anti-rejection meds if person qualifies under Part B for coverage.
medicare issues
Medicare Issues
  • Patients can choose to wait to sign up for Part A at the time of transplant
    • They can wait to take Part B until they need it
      • Must plan ahead to avoid a gap in coverage
        • Coordination of benefits (COB)
  • Applying for Medicare Part B if Part A is in place
    • Can only apply during January-March
    • Medicare Part B becomes effective July
    • Can usually apply for Part B at time of transplant
what the dialysis social worker can do and why3
What the Dialysis Social Worker Can Do and Why
  • If Medicare Part B is terminated, notify transplant center, as anti-rejection medications WILL NOT be covered until it is reinstated.
medicare issues1
Medicare Issues
  • Medicare must be effective the month of the transplant for the anti-rejection meds to ever be covered by Medicare Part B
  • If someone is on COBRA, this can have the implication of losing COBRA.
desired outcome of transplant psychosocial assessment and education
Desired Outcome of Transplant Psychosocial Assessment and Education
  • Plan for Access to Medications
  • Plan for Caregiver and Support
  • Plan for Lodging
  • Plan for Transportation
  • Plan for Fundraising
  • Plan for Employability
  • Plan for Insurance after Transplant
    • To promote improved transplant outcomes
  • Patients and families often use public fundraising to help cover expenses not paid by medical insurance. It is a good idea to ask for assistance in planning, promoting, and carrying out these activities.
    • The transplant social worker or coordinator will often need to help complete part of the application
  • National Transplant Assistance Fund

(800) 642-8399;

  • National Foundation for Transplants (800) 489-3863;
  • Children's Organ Transplant Association

(800) 366-2682;

  • Kidney School

  • American Association of Kidney Patients
    •; 800/749-2257
  • Life Options Rehabilitation Resource Center
    •; 800/468-7777
  • National Kidney Foundation
    • (800)/622-9010;; Transaction Council
  • United Network for Organ Sharing
    • (888) 894-6361;
mary beth callahan acsw lcsw dallas transplant institute 214 358 2300 6290 callahanm@dneph com
Mary Beth Callahan, ACSW/LCSW

Dallas Transplant Institute

214/358-2300, 6290

[email protected]