On Nov. 11, after it was announced that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services would no longer fund the UC Irvine Medical Center’s liver transplant program, Dr. Ralph Cygan, the chief executive officer of the UCIMC, wrote in a statement:
‘As disappointing as this is, our first commitment is to our patients.’
But considering the current controversy swirling around the UCIMC in these past weeks, not to mention the alarming string of scandals that UCI’s health sciences have been facing since 1995, it’s hard not to be more than a little cynical about Cygan’s reassurances.
In 1995, doctors at UCI’s Center for Reproductive Health were accused of stealing patients’ eggs and then transplanting them without the patients’ knowledge.
In 2000, came the nationally publicized ‘cadaver scandal,’ wherein the then-director of the Willed Body Program was found to have illegally sold parts of cadavers to a research program in Arizona.
A number of smaller scandals were also uncovered throughout this 10-year period.
And now this. On Nov. 10, the CMS stripped the UCIMC of its Medicare funding after an investigation found that the liver transplant program had no full-time resident surgeon, and that it had been denying livers at an unaccountably high rate