By: Miranda Schwartz
Will Medicare pay for a pancreas transplant? The current answer is no. However, a new study under way by NIDDK will collect data to try to convince Medicare otherwise. The Health Care Financing Administration (HCFA) will use an NIDDK study of pancreas-kidney transplants to figure out when and under what circumstances, pancreas-kidney transplants are reasonable and necessary. These transplants would then be covered under the Medicare Program.
Pancreas transplants are the only current treatment for making a person with type 1 diabetes insulin independent. This will be the first clinical study of the effectiveness of simultaneous pancreas-kidney transplants on the secondary complications of diabetes.
The NIDDK will begin collecting data on diabetic patients receiving a kidney only as a control group and will develop patient selection criteria for pancreas transplants from the database.
The NIDDK will also continue to sponsor a multi-center patient registry to determine the long-term efficacy of pancreas-kidney transplants on the secondary complications of diabetes.