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Medicare halts funding to Sutter heart program

Sacramento Bee, February 23, 2009
As the clock for Medicare payments ran out, Sacramento, CA-based Sutter Memorial Hospital began closing down part of its heart transplant program, trying to shift Medicare patients to waiting lists at Bay Area hospitals. The federal government stopped paying for heart transplants at Sutter on Feb. 20, because the hospital does not do enough surgeries annually to meet Medicare guidelines. The withdrawal of Medicare funding could kill the hospital's heart transplant program, unless Sutter can reverse the decision during appeals in coming months.