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Downstate Times

The Newsletter for SUNY Downstate
University Hospital of Brooklyn

Covering the Costs of Kidney Transplant Surgery

by Betty Jung, RN, Patient Educator
Center for Community Health Promotion and Wellness

photo of 2 women

Marcella Ilori (l.) and Hope Williams teamed up to offer financial advice to members of the Brooklyn Kidney Club.

The cost of treatment for chronic kidney failure or end-stage renal disease can pose a significant financial burden on patients. At the April meeting of the Brooklyn Kidney Club, Hope Williams, LMSW, renal social work supervisor at Parkside Dialysis, and Marcella Ilori, transplant financial coordinator for the Division of Transplant, offered advice on financing kidney transplantation surgery.

"Many patients do not know what kind of insurance coverage they have," says Ms. Ilori. As a first step, she helps them do a financial assessment and finds out what coverage they have or may qualify for.

The cost of a kidney transplant can vary from state to state and from hospital to hospital. Medical costs include insurance deductibles and co-pays, pre-transplant evaluation and testing, fees for the recovery of the organ from the donor, fees for the physician, surgeon, radiologist, and anesthesiologist, anti-rejection drugs and other medications, and rehabilitation. Add to this such nonmedical expenses as transportation to and from the hospital for follow up care or a home aide, and the cost can easily exceed $2,500 a month.

The take-home message for members of the Brooklyn Kidney Club was: Be proactive and knowledgeable about your insurance coverage; pay your premiums on time; meet deadlines for recertification; and seek the advice of a knowledgeable social worker and financial coordinator in order to receive all the paid medical benefits to which you are entitled.