DES MOINES, Iowa — MercyOne Des Moines Medical Center announced Thursday it will be closing its kidney and pancreas transplant center.
A spokesperson said the reason they’re closing the center is due to low patient volume in the program.
MercyOne Central Iowa President Karl Keeler said in a statement, “We feel this decision is in the best interest of our community, as central Iowans will still have access to transplant medicine, and this allows us to consider areas in which to invest where community needs are not being met.”
MercyOne said even though the center is closing, it will still continue organ donation programs and the closure will not affect the Iowa Donor Network’s efforts.
“As far as Iowa Donor Network’s impact and mission, this won’t have any effect. We’ll still have our strong mission of transforming lives through organ and tissue donation. Last year 2018 was a record-breaking year for Iowa Donor Network in the number of donors that graciously gave the gift of life,” Iowa Donor Network Director of Philanthropy Kaylie Hoyle said.
Fifty-six of the 71 patients on the list waiting for a donation have transferred to UnityPoint Health – Iowa Methodist’s Transplant Center. The rest have chosen to go to the University of Iowa and other facilities in the Midwest.
A UnityPoint spokesperson said in a statement, “The UnityPoint Health – Iowa Methodist Transplant Center has been working closely with the MercyOne Transplant Center to coordinate the transition of their patients into our program. We know that this was not an easy decision but are working collaboratively to make this transition as easy as possible for patients and their families. We are prepared to provide transplant services to any of the patients that choose to transition their care to us and are already working with several patients.”
The Iowa Donor Network said even though patients have transferred to another center, it won’t affect the time they’ve been waiting.
“When a patient is listed for transplant — no matter what transplant center they are at — that wait list starts on the day they were listed for transplant. So no matter if they changed to another center, their days in waiting are not going to start over,” Hoyle said.
MercyOne Kidney and Pancreas Transplant Center will close on Oct. 1.