Organ Failure Transplant Network membership to aid patients

April 19, 2016

Baptist Health recently became a member of the University of Kentucky Organ Failure & Transplant Network (OFTN), a new UK HealthCare initiative focused on providing patients in organ failure with access to advanced care, including organ transplantation.

Baptist Health recently became a member of the University of Kentucky Organ Failure & Transplant Network (OFTN), a new UK HealthCare initiative focused on providing patients in organ failure with access to advanced care, including organ transplantation.

The OFTN will comprise systems, hospitals and independent physician practices across Kentucky and beyond providing seamless care from diagnosis through organ transplantation to patients with advanced kidney, lung, liver and heart failure.

Under the OFTN umbrella, UK HealthCare and Baptist Health will work closely together to enhance the coordination and quality of care for Baptist Health patients in advanced organ failure. Baptist Health’s statewide coverage will greatly aid in providing this high-level care to Kentuckians in organ failure and support transplant opportunities for patients when indicated.

"This is one of many ways we are partnering with other providers throughout the state and beyond to provide care, services and continuity for our patients,” said Steve Hanson, Baptist Health CEO. “The relationships with the physicians from both Baptist Health facilities and our affiliates continue to be focused on the people and communities we are honored to serve.”

“The genesis of the Organ Failure & Transplant Network,” said Michael Karpf, MD, UK executive vice president for health affairs, “arose out of our realization that the existing model was not serving patients or the overall health care system well. Often, patients reached us too late, or not all, and missed the full benefit of services we offer.

Nephrologist Ramsey Nassar, MD, a Baptist Health board member, said he is excited that Baptist Health can now offer this network to patients, improving both the length and quality of their lives.

“This network will bring freedom and liberty to do what they want to patients now tied to a machine,” Dr. Nassar said, referring to patients now on dialysis. “I believe this is the way to save lives for our patients who entrust their lives to us.”

As a member of the OFTN, Baptist Health also gains access to:

  • Clinical education and training related to advanced organ failure

  • Affiliate administration and network support

  • Community outreach and education

According to Roberto Gedaly, MD, director of the UK Transplant Center, “We are working toward a seamless continuum of care so that those who present in our specialty clinics in organ failure receive the best evidence-based care management. If transplant becomes indicated, we can anticipate it and plan for that transition in the care plan.”

Kentucky faces some of the highest rates of organ failure and mortality in the nation. With nearly 1,000 Kentuckians waiting for an organ transplant because of organ failure, the affiliation may also put more power behind raising awareness around the importance of organ donation.

Already, some Baptist Health providers participated in mini fellowship programs, shadowing UK transplant team physicians to learn more about the transplant program and process.

Christie Daniels, APRN, a gastroenterology provider at Baptist Health Lexington, recently shadowed Malay Shah, MD, FACS, surgical director of the UK Liver Transplant Program, and his team to learn more about liver disease and liver transplant patients. As part of the experience, Daniels got a first-hand look at how the process works when Baptist Health sends a patient to UK for a transplant.

“Our practitioners want to stay informed,” said  Tim Jahn, MD, Baptist Health’s chief clinical officer, “and would rather send Baptist patients to a center where we have already been in communication, have been involved, and know what to expect when the patient returns to our care. We are also in a better position to prepare the patient for what lies ahead.”

“Baptist Health is already taking great care of our patients,” he added. “This formal affiliation allows us to work more closely with UK toward the goal of providing the best organ failure and transplant care for patients.”