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Every patient has different needs and preferences that need to be taken into account when selecting an appropriate hospital. Think about these factors when selecting a transplant center:
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Factors to consider when choosing a transplant center
- The experience of the transplant team and support personnel. It is always important to know how much experience a hospital has with the type of care you need.
- The cost of the procedure and related items. The cost of a transplant, including preliminary testing, the surgery itself and post-operative recovery costs vary across the country by hospital and organ type.
- Insurance coverage. Although many insurance companies offer coverage for transplant costs, the terms and benefits of insurance policies vary widely. Some insurance companies establish network agreements with certain transplant centers; the insurer may pay a higher proportion of costs for centers within their network. In addition, many transplant centers have different policies about the types of insurance they accept for the type of transplant you need.
- Geographical proximity to the program. The travel time to the transplant center is important when you are waiting for an organ and is a key factor considered in organ distribution.
- The quality and availability of pre- and post-transplant services. Offering a comprehensive system of support services to meet the special needs of patients and their families is important. Education and emotional support can help you feel informed about your health care decisions.
- A commitment to keeping up with technologic advances. It may be important to identify if a transplant center has a commitment to technology and the latest procedures, both which offer assurance that a program is continually growing.
- Multicultural sensitivity. Does the transplant center have bilingual staff members and/or access to translators if needed? Regardless of treatment, patients should always feel understood and informed throughout the treatment process.
- Availability of friends and family for assistance. More and more, family members and friends are needed to help with the patient’s care as an outpatient.
Every transplant center in the United States is a member of the OPTN and must meet specific requirements. See UNOS Bylaws Appendix B III – Criteria for Institutional Membership.