ETMC Tyler to suspend kidney transplant program

January 29, 2018

East Texas Medical Center Tyler will suspend its kidney transplant services within the next six months, as increasing regulations make it difficult for smaller transplantation programs to remain viable.

“Unfortunately, an unintended consequence of more stringent regulations is that smaller programs, such as ours, are challenged,” said Maria Kulma, vice president of patient services at ETMC Tyler.

Transplantation programs across the state and nation have closed in recent years. Texas closures include the transplantation programs at University Medical Center in Lubbock and South Texas Transplant Center in the Rio Grande Valley.

“Our overarching goal is to ensure a safe and seamless transition for patients and those awaiting transplants as they move to other programs,” Kulma said. “Our dedicated team will remain in place to support our transplantation patients.”

ETMC Tyler is implementing a communications plan to reach out to patients and to work closely with them throughout this transition. “Patients are our No. 1 priority as we make this change,” Kulma added.

She said the ETMC Tyler transplant team is proud that the hospital was able to sustain this program for more than three decades. In 2017, ETMC Tyler performed 21 kidney transplants.

ETMC is in the process of transitioning to a new medical system affiliated with the UT Health System this spring. Hospital officials say this affiliation could allow a new East Texas kidney transplantation program to be created in partnership with the UT Health System.