How Much Does A Transplant Cost
Transplant fundraising is used by Americans across the United States because the cost of organ transplants or transplant surgery is considerably high. With more than 122,000 men, women and children in the US currently in need of lifesaving organ transplants, the cost of transplants can be a life or death matter.
Transplant surgery or organ transplantation is an expensive process. Part of the reason why it is expensive is because of the significant costs associated with the procedure. In order for hospitals to continue running without losing significant funds, patients who are suitable candidates for transplant will be refused unless they are able to provide the financial means to pay for the complete procedure.
As a result, financial cost and medical expenses is a huge prevention for patients to receive the lifesaving organ transplant.
The cost of the transplant procedure varies depending on the type of transplant. Below is a table of organ and tissue transplants and their estimated costs. These approximate costs are the charger per transplant.
According to Milliman’s 2011 research report, the cost of any transplant can increase depending on the complexity of the circumstances and whether the patient is receiving a single or multiple organ transplant at one time.
The report outlines that generally transplants can cost from $250,000 up to $1 million dollars. Majority of these costs, if not all of the medical expenses are covered out of pocket. This means patients will have to be able to cover the whole cost in order to be eligible for a transplant.
3 Reasons Individuals Choose Transplant Fundraising
Transplant fundraising has been one of the most common solutions for patients and their families to receive the necessary funding for an organ transplant. There are several reasons why families across the United States have opted for this option compared to other options that may be available.
1. Waiting Times
According to United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS), there are over 111,000 patients who are currently waiting for an organ transplant. This number continues to increase everyday with thousands of new patients being enlisted. In fact, every 10 minutes another name is also added onto the national organ transplant waiting list.
The problem for many patients is that the number of organ donors remain the same or similar over time, making viable organs a rare and difficult object to obtain.
Before being enlisted on the organ waiting list, patients must be able to prove that they are financially stable to pay for the cost of transplant. This includes showing assets and income statements. Transplant fundraising can help patients and their families by having the necessary funding for the transplant. This increases their chances of finding a suitable organ or donor in time.
Unfortunately for patients who are in critical condition, time is also not on their side. Patients can often be on the waiting list on average for weeks to months on end. There is no certain whether patients will be able to receive an organ in time and whether this organ transplant will be accepted by the body. As a result, an average of 18 Americans each day die while waiting for an organ transplant.
Medical And Non-Medical Costs
One of the biggest reasons why transplant fundraising has been used for many American patients is because in the United States, patients are obligated to bare the cost associated with the transplant. Thus, if there is an organ waiting for you, cost can be a barrier to receiving the transplant.
Transplants have long processes from getting onto the waiting list to finding a suitable candidate or organ. There are many steps taken before and after the transplant is taken place. As a result, there are several costs that need to be factored, making transplant fundraising an ideal option for patients and their families. These costs can be medical expenses as well as non-medical expenses.
Firstly, the pre-transplant costs for the patient. These can include:
– Pre-transplant evaluation and testing: to make sure that you are a suitable candidate for transplant and to match you with the best donor in order to avoid organ rejection.
– Surgery costs: such as the fees for surgeons, physicians, radiologist, anesthesiologist and recurrent lab testing that are mandatory costs for all transplants.
– Insurance costs: Insurance Co-pay, insurance deductibles and excess costs need to be accounted for.
– Hospital Stays: Patients will need to be admitted to hospital for at least one overnight stay. This may increase when a patient has had complications with the surgery.
– Non-medical costs: Apart from the general medical expenses related to a transplant, there are also secondary costs as a result of receiving a transplant. These include the cost of food, lodging for family, long distance phone calls before the day of the transplant, hospital parking fees and visits and transportation to the transplant center. Patients who have found an organ or donor outside of their state may incur further expenses such as plan travel, child care expenses and many even result to fewer hours working.
Patients will also undergo many critical steps in their recovery after the transplant. These costs are known as post-transplant costs and can include:
– Follow-up care: Patients will require ongoing check-ups and testing to ensure that the body has not rejected the new organ and to ensure that there are no side effects or complications as a result of the transplant. This also includes an rehabilitation costs like therapies.
– Donor Recovery costs: Many patients may not be aware that they will also be liable for any costs for the donor themselves. This includes hospital stays and any treatment that may be required.
– Drugs and medication: Anti-rejection drugs and other medication may be required. An ongoing cost is estimated to be $2500 per month.
Types Of Organ Transplants And Tissue Transplants That Patients Fundraise For
1. Bone Marrow Transplant Fundraising
There are two types of bone marrow transplants that patients fundraise for; allogeneic bone marrow transplant and autologous bone marrow transplant.
Patients who have been diagnosed with acute myelogenous leukemia, which is a form of cancer will often need a allogeneic bone marrow transplant during the course of treatment. In fact, acute myelogenous leukemia patients hold 36 percent of patients seeking a bone marrow transplant.
Patients with acute lymphocytic leukemia (16 percent) and myelodysplatic syndrome or myeloproliferative disease (12 percent) will also seek an allogeneic bone marrow transplant.
Mutiple myeloma is the primary diagnosis for patients seeking an autologous bone marrow transplant. 45 percent of patients requesting for an autologous bone marrow transplant have mutiple myeloma, followed by non-hodgkin’s lymphoma patients at 30 percent and patients diagnosed with hodgkin’s disease at 13 percent.
2. Cornea Transplant Fundraising
Cornea transplants is a common solution to help the many Americans suffering from eye diseases and infections. Without the solution of cornea transplants, long term effects include eye damage which can result in blindness.
Each year, thousands of patients opt for corneal transplant operations. In 2011, it was found that there were 46,196 corneal transplants performed in the United States.
Cornea transplants are often needed for patients suffering from an eye disease that affects the structure of the cornea called Keratoconus. According to the Milliman 2011 report, 22 percent patients waiting for a cornea transplant are patients who have Keratoconus.
3. Heart Transplant Fundraising
Heart transplants or otherwise known as cardiac transplantation has been commonly used for patients with severe heart failure. 32 percent of patients on the waitlist for heart transplants have what is called idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy. This is a heart condition where the heart is weakened and enlarged. As a result, the heart cannot properly pump blood, which can have affects on the lungs, liver and other critical parts of the body.
Patients with ischemic heart disease are often in need of a heart transplant as well as patients with congenital heart defects.
4. Intestine Transplant Fundraising
Intestine transplant is commonly used for patients with short bowel syndrome. This is a condition that affects 10,000 – 15,000 people in the United States.
Many patients who have been diagnosed with crohn’s disease may also fall under the scoop of potential intestine transplant patients. This is because a common treatment for crohn’s disease is the removal of part of the intestine, causing poorer absorption of nutrients, which can have further adverse affects on the body.
5. Kidney Transplant Fundraising
Although kidney transplant is one of the most common transplant procedures in the United States, it can cost on average $259,900 for the surgery alone.
According to the National Kidney Foundation, in 2013 14,029 kidney transplants took place in the United States. Patients with hypertensive nephrosclerosis, diabetes mellitus type II and polycystic kidney disease are most commonly on the waiting list for a kidney transplant. Each month, there are an additional 2,500 patients waiting for a kidney in the US.
6. Liver Transplant Fundraising
Although a liver transplant may be a last resort for patients who have a liver failure, liver transplants can be very costly and hence, hard to obtain. Besides the cost, a liver transplant may be hard to obtain as there are over 16,000 Americans still on the waiting list.
Cirrhosis, developed from chronic liver disease is the most common reason why patients receive a liver transplant. Poor health of the liver caused by a range of factors including alcohol consumption, hepatitis b or c infections and hereditary diseases. Patients with primary liver cancer also may require a liver transplant.
7. Pancreas Transplant Fundraising
Pancreas transplant is typically associated with patients who have diabetes. With over 25.8 million Americans diagnosed and living with diabetes, 8.3 percent of the US population may require a pancreas transplant in their lifetime.
8. Lung Transplant Fundraising
Lung transplant can occur with a single lung transplant or a double lung transplant. A lung transplant is used to help Americans with advanced lung diseases, where the one or both lungs are failing to respond to other treatments given to the patient. It is typically used as a last resort measure for patients in critical condition. Most patients have a life expectancy of less than 3 years without a transplant, where successful lung transplant procedure can help a patient have more time.
Lung transplants are often offered to patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). COPD is a term that groups a number of diseases where the commonality of each disease is that there is damage to the lungs.
Patients with cystic fibrosis, which causes the lungs to be clogged with a thick mucus are also suitable candidates for a lung transplant. Patients with pulmonary hypertension and idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis and emphysema are all suitable for a lung transplant.
9. Multiple Organ Transplant Fundraising
Multiple organ transplants are also very common, particularly for patients with more complex issues. Most common multiple organ transplants include heart and lung, kidney and pancreas, kidney and heart and, liver and kidney.
Patients can have a range of illnesses and diseases which can affect their body in one or more vital organ. For examples, individuals with diabetes type one or diabetes type two can have macrovascular complications such as damages to the large blood vessels found in the heart, brain and legs. Small blood vessel can also be impacted from diabetes causing problems in the eyes, feed, nerves and kidneys.
Also, patients with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, which is a form of scarring in the lungs can cause multiple problems leading to a multiple organ transplant.
2) 2011 U.S. organ and tissue transplant cost estimates and discussion: http://publications.milliman.com/research/health-rr/pdfs/2011-us-organ-tissue.pdf
3) Financial barriers to organ transplantation: a comparative analysis: http://scholarworks.gvsu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1019&context=spnhareview
4) Organ Donation and Transplantation Statistics: http://www.kidney.org/news/newsroom/factsheets/Organ-Donation-and-Transplantation-Stats.cfm
5) OPTN Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network: http://optn.transplant.hrsa.gov/latestData/step2.asp?
6) Organ Transplant Data: http://www.organdonor.gov.html