Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations
HIV-Positive Patient Medically Approved for Liver Transplant, But Financial Concerns Remain
Belynda Dunn, an AIDS activist living with HIV and hepatitis C who needs a liver transplant in order to survive, was "medically cleared" for the transplant on Tuesday by a physician committee at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center's Thomas E. Starzl Transplantation Institute, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports. However, Dunn still needs financial approval for the surgery, and will have to submit a down payment of about $300,000 to the hospital and surgeon, because her HMO will not cover the procedure (Siemers, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, 8/8). Last month, Dunn received a $150,000 donation from Harvard Pilgrim Health Care and Neighborhood Health Plan, the HMO that twice refused to cover the transplant costs because the surgery was considered "experimental" on HIV-positive patients, and an additional $175,000 raised by Boston Mayor Thomas Menino (D). Despite the $325,000 raised, the fund falls short of the transplant's total expected cost of $500,000, and one anonymous donor has reneged a $50,000 pledge. Menino has met with staff to "explore fund-raising options," saying that he is "confident the money will be found" (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 8/6).
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