Saturday, October 2, 2010

The Associated Press: Arizona Medicaid cuts include transplant funding

The Associated Press: Arizona Medicaid cuts include transplant funding

PHOENIX — A Phoenix man awaiting a bone-marrow transplant got good news Friday — word of two donors who are possible matches.

But new budget cuts for Arizona's Medicaid program also take effect Friday, and they eliminate coverage for many types of transplants, including the lifesaving one Mark Price needs.

The former armored-truck guard with leukemia would normally receive a transplant within a few weeks if tests of the donors and Price's continuing therapy go well, said Dr. Jeffrey Schriber.

"Unfortunately we can't do that now," said Schriber, director of the Blood and Marrow Transplant Program at Banner Good Samaritan Medical Center.

Price is now left hoping that the state can reverse the cutbacks.

Transplant centers have been lobbying the Republican-led Legislature in recent months to agree to meet in special session to at least temporarily restore the transplant funding, but so far there is no indication that any action is coming.

A spokesman for Brewer said the state faces huge cost burdens from federal mandates about who is eligible for the Medicaid program, so it has been forced to cut optional services such as transplants.

What a shame....Arizona's priorities are all screwed up !

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