Statement from MD Anderson regarding response to surveys from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services

More than 140,000 people from around the world turned to our experts last year for their cancer care. Their trust in MD Anderson pushes us to set the highest standards and to continually improve and strive for excellent patient outcomes.

Late last year, MD Anderson self-reported to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) an incident involving contaminated platelets that contributed to a patient’s death. Based on the self-reported information, the FDA conducted a full review of the lab and no citations were provided. Per policy, the FDA referred the case to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

CMS in conjunction with the Texas Department of State Health Services conducted surveys of MD Anderson from March 29-April 5 and May 13-17. MD Anderson cooperated fully with CMS and has responded to its reports with our improvement plans.

It is important to note that there have been no changes to our participation in Medicare and Medicaid programs. Patient coverage should be the same as it was prior to the surveys. MD Anderson is not on a pathway to termination from Medicare and Medicaid programs.

While it is unfortunate that the CMS surveys resulted from a patient death, we recognize and embrace the opportunity to further enhance and improve our patient care efforts and robust safety measures. We take this feedback seriously, and we already have implemented changes into our clinical practice.

MD Anderson transfuses as many as 200,000 blood products each year. Those transfusions carry inherent risks, and, for our patients, many who are very sick with weakened immune systems, those risks are more significant. While we have policies and procedures in place to protect our patients, in rare instances severe reactions occur.

In addition to ongoing educational information and online training regarding blood transfusion reactions, as well as ongoing training to reinforce blood administration procedures and expectations for patient monitoring and documentation, we have created additional layers of safeguards to protect patients during blood transfusions – exceeding the already high standards set forth by the FDA and the accepted standard of care.

One of those safeguards is a first-of-its-kind Hemovigilance Unit to provide real-time surveillance of all patients undergoing or recently provided a blood transfusion. The unit, to be launched soon, will be staffed full time by advanced practice providers and nurses who will monitor for reactions and will partner with our physicians and nursing staff to quickly respond, to document and to report any concerns or reactions.

MD Anderson’s faculty and staff are among the most skilled, professional and highly-trained in the country, and we have made intentional, strategic and patient-focused decisions to further improve patient outcomes. Additionally, more than 70 regulatory, professional and accrediting bodies regularly review MD Anderson’s processes.

To our patients and their loved ones, we want to reinforce our unwavering commitment to provide them with the safest and highest quality care. We are grateful to them for entrusting us with their care, and we consider it our responsibility and honor to join them in their fight to end cancer.