Transplant patients put on hold due to new Indiana Medicaid rules

Transplant patients put on hold due to new Indiana Medicaid rules

The Governor's office and State Social Services are scrambling to find a fix for hundreds of transplant patients put on hold due to Indiana's new Medicaid program.

There's not a lot of time to fix the issue that could leave kidney transplant patients without access to the life-saving organs they need. The new Medicaid program takes effect on Sunday.

13 Investigates began hearing rumblings about this latest Medicaid issue after a couple of dialysis centers went to bat for their patients highlighting hundreds of cases of individuals who will lose Medicaid in four days, and along with it, their hope for a kidney transplant.

Paulette Gardner of Speedway is one of those patients. She sat down with 13 Investigates Wednesday afternoon. She showed the "official notification" she and other dialysis patients received saying they "have been placed on hold in the United Network of Organ Sharing."

The problem for Gardner and others is they have to show they can afford the expensive transplant medications that would have been covered by Medicaid.

The State of Indiana said Gardner, a widow, receives $700 a month too much to qualify under the new rules. For the past 10 years, with the spend down program, Gardner's Medicaid benefits would kick in after she spent that amount on healthcare. Now, she will have to pay a percentage of her normal medications and try to buy insurance that will cover transplant-related expenses.

She said she wants Governor Pence and his staff to know that until she is able to find an option, she cannot receive a kidney.

"He just doesn't understand how he impacted when he cut Medicaid like that. Everything says that I make too much money. The money that I make is gone before I get it. Every month. It is gone before I get it. I have to skip some bills," Gardner explained.

Tuesday night, I.U. Health told 13 Investigates there were urgent meetings regarding this issue Wednesday, both at the Governor's office and with Family and Social Services.

Jim Gavin, Communications Director at Indiana's Family and Social Services Administration, sent the following statement:

"We understand both the medical requirements of this group and their particular need for coverage. The state is actively pursuing an immediate solution with the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services, and our intent is to maintain continuous coverage for those affected by the new Medicaid rules."