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WJBD - Local News - Illinois Medicaid Won't Cover Rare Transplant For Two Women, Including One From Olney

Illinois Medicaid Won't Cover Rare Transplant For Two Women, Including One From Olney

CHICAGO (AP) - Women from Olney and Lombard seeking a rare type of organ transplant have learned that the Illinois Medicaid program considers the surgery experimental and won't pay for it.

Crain's Chicago Business reports that the Illinois decision is based on a recommendation from an ethics panel convened to study the procedure, which involves transplanting the intestine and other organs.  No Illinois hospitals perform the surgery, which is called a multi-visceral transplant.

Indiana University Health lobbied Illinois Medicaid to cover the transplants for 32-year-old Brandy Whitfield of Lombard and 67-year-old Barbara Sensney of Olney. Medicaid is a government health program for poor and disabled patients.

The surgeries were expected to cost more than $1 million each. IU Health's University Hospital in Indianapolis has performed 38 of the operations in four years.

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