Lung Transplant Program Facilitates Losing Population Health Insurance Coverage

A unique partnership between Northwestern Medicine and HealthCare Partners Praha, a Mumbai-based private women´s health care organization, will expand coverage and insurance for a rare but devastating lung transplant through a partnership with Northwestern Medicine.

The partnership will be developed by Northwestern Medicine doctors and doctors’ colleagues from other areas of Northwestern’s accredited transplant program. Losing coverage in the lung transplant program is detrimental to a patient’s respiratory system and leads to increased use of heart transplant, kidney transplant and other life-saving organ transplants.

Through this affiliation, Northwestern Medicine members living in the Midwestern United States will have access to care from Westside Hospital and the Perinatal Care Center, including Northwestern Medicine physicians who treat newborns and compensatory recipients and physicians specialized in pulmonary/critical care and pulmonary embolism.

This pioneering partnership will help to address the significant need for organ transplantation care in the U.S., which is even more difficult geographically than in Europe. As hospitals in the U.S. need more organs, there will be an urgent need for transplant programs outside of the transplant pool, especially from Latin America and beyond.

“The partnership with Northwestern will make the patient and donor experiences in a similar fashion to what you could experience for organ donation,” said Dr. Vishwa Deepa, Cardiologist at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. “The opportunities to collaborate with other physicians on advocating for appropriate organ-related care in the U.S. are limited, but these specialties and hospitals help to build good relationships with patients and their families.”

In addition to meeting the need, the program will also embrace the diverse communities of people living with neuronecular disease, including transgender, gender-diverse and gender identity-confirmative patients.

This affiliation on behalf of Northwestern Medicine has an opportunity to provide patients with care, diversity and services that duplicate what they would see in rural settings, said Dr. Deepa, the first-author.

“We are able to offer services that specifically target patients with neuronecular diseases who are diagnosed in the general population and who are often overlooked,” said Deepa. “We offer a diversity of services including hormone therapy; certain pediatric brain-stimulation methods; for adults and children medically-transmitted to the NICU; medical management; lung transplantation in adults; the medical management of the respiratory distress syndrome; the management of hypertension; transplantation of lost organs and service of lung transplant recipients; and mechanical ventilation.”

Additionally, this partnership will also leverage Northwestern’s expertise in pulmonary transplantation, with a focus on organ stem cell transplantation, pulmonary embolism, transplant in the adult and adult organ donor** and transplantable heart. The team plans to ask that the patients and caregivers be their advocates and help their fight by purchasing, procuring, and getting to know Northwestern doctors.

While not an alternative on its own, a Losing Coverage Network and the Losing Coverage Network (LCN) can help patients live longer and healthier lives, said Dr. Deepa. The Laying Out Fund will limit the percentage of a patient who will be on recommended human immunological therapies (HITs), immunosuppressive drugs that never need to be taken while severely wasting the patient’s immune system. The Laying Out Network will also ensure that patients and their families get the care and evaluation necessary for optimum health.

“This fellowship offers the opportunity for pain management and cardiovascular health treatment that can complement cutting-edge, patient-centered research through collaborative programs and educational opportunities,” said Darpana Chandrase, assistant division chief of urology/oncology at Northwestern University Feinberg Children’s. “We find across the globe, that having patient-centered care is the fundamental value of Medicine and its its health care system.”