To become eligible for a transplant you will need to undergo more medical tests. The transplant team needs to know even more about your physical condition, to determine if you have related health issues and perhaps to treat you to prepare for the surgery. Not all additional medical conditions, such as diabetes, are disqualifying, but some will be. Some centers don’t transplant after a certain age or if you have HIV. Other centers do accept those patients. You will need to find out about the center you are considering. Some centers may disqualify candidates that another center might accept. If you are denied at one center, consider registering at another.
During your evaluation you will likely meet with a social worker, a psychologist, surgeons, nurses, financial coordinators, and others. Going through a transplant evaluation can be extremely stressful. You will want to involve your caregiver in this process. Bring your questions; get answers. You will have numerous blood tests, scans, cardiac, and pulmonary tests. Certain patients need additional tests. If you have been a substance abuser your transplant center may require testing and counseling to be sure you have given up those activities.
At the point you are being evaluated for a transplant, you will meet with a financial coordinator who will review your insurance status. You will need to understand thoroughly what your coverage will provide in terms of testing, surgery, hospital stay and medications, and of course, follow-up care. Some policies have limits on where you may receive care, or have your tests and surgery. Know what your policy offers. If you need to supplement your current insurance, there are resources the counselor or social worker can assist in identifying. Click here for a website that describes additional sources of financial assistance for transplant patients with limited resources.
The subject of health insurance is complicated. A good resource that has helped many PSC patients understand their options and rights with regard to insurance is Advocacy for Patients with Chronic Illness, Inc, a non-profit whose president, Jennifer Jaff, Esq., has spoken to PSC Partners at our conferences. Click here to go to the website.