Kidney Transplant Patients Risk Transplant Rejection When Medicare Coverage Ends Interview with:

Allyson Hart MD MSDepartment of Medicine, Hennepin Healthcare,University of MinnesotaMinneapolis, Minnesota

Dr. Hart

Allyson Hart MD MS
Department of Medicine, Hennepin Healthcare,
University of Minnesota
Minneapolis, Minnesota What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Kidney transplantation confers profound survival, quality of life, and cost benefits over dialysis for the treatment of end-stage kidney disease. Kidney transplant recipients under 65 years of age qualify for Medicare coverage following transplantation, but coverage ends after three years for patients who are not disabled.

We studied 78,861 Medicare-covered kidney transplant recipients under the age of 65, and found that failure of the transplanted kidney was 990 percent to 1630 percent higher for recipients who lost Medicare coverage before this three-year time point compared with recipients who lost Medicare on time. Those who lost coverage after 3 years had a lesser, but still very marked, increased risk of kidney failure. Recipients who lost coverage before or after the three-year time point also filled immunosuppressive medications at a significantly lower rate than those who lost coverage on time. Continue reading