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Cuts to Arizona Medicaid Hits Patients Waiting for Transplants–7 Are Now Ineligible-One Man Received a Gift Donation

Posted Oct 10 2010 12:44pm

Due to cuts in the Arizona Medicaid budget, 7 patients will have to find alternative treatments as there is nothing in the budget to fund the procedures, sad!  image Philanthropy and other efforts came to the rescue of one man, but there are 6 more on the list.  In this case we are talking bone marrow transplants and the reality of ethics and care is beginning to show an ugly face here.  It may not be of impact until it affects you or someone you know or family member.  At this point, statistics and numbers don’t have any meaning and rightly so. 

“Reinstating the transplant benefits would cost the state about $1.5 million, according to AHCCCS.”

We see new technology to make the process faster, easier and more efficient all the time and these items do affect cost many times in a positive way too, but they need money to continue.

In addition, doctors state that keeping patients on chemotherapy is in the long run more costly so it doesn’t appear to show that anyone is winning here with cutting transplant funding.  This comes at a time whereby in California, a unanimous law was passed for residents to make the decision of whether they are “in or out” at the DMV to create a bigger pool of body organs for when they are needed, but still the funding is needed for the procedure itself.  Steve Jobs from Apple, a transplant recipient was one of the main voices in California for getting this law passed. 

Arizona could learn something here and again perhaps look at some sense of urgency to help those in need and again I have to reflect back on unintentional consequences with decisions being made without some business intelligence software to find out ahead of time each and every area that will be touched before a decision is made as we keep seeing horrors as such being played out in front of our eyes every day.  BD 

There are about 100 Arizonans enrolled in the state's version of Medicaid who are awaiting transplants but lost their medical coverage for their procedures earlier this month.

For now, they'll have to either find alternative treatments or another way to pay for the transplants unless the state moves to reinstate the cuts. But that appears unlikely to happen any time soon.

Mark Price, a Goodyear leukemia patient, became a poster child for the budget cuts to the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System after his doctor found donor matches for Price's bone-marrow transplant a day too late, and Price became ineligible for coverage.

The cuts went into effect Oct. 1. They included coverage for seven transplant surgeries, including bone-marrow, kidney and liver, from non-relatives of the patient.

According to Jennifer Carusetta, chief legislative liaison at AHCCCS, the average cost for a bone-marrow transplant, plus the care in the year after, is about $325,000. The average cost of care for receiving chemotherapy for two years is about $50,000.

Transplants are the most effective treatments for patients with such serious diseases as leukemia, Schriber said.

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