Geography Matters for Veterans Patients

Dr. Pauline Chen, writing for the New York Times, comments on a recent JAMA study that “not only confirms what critics have long feared but also reveals how even the most self-evident policy choices can have unforeseen and potentially devastating consequences.”

“The researchers combed through the records of the over 50,000 veterans administration patients who were classified as eligible for a liver transplant from 2003 to 2010 and found that almost 1,500 had been placed on the waiting list for transplant at one of the five transplant centers. But the farther those patients lived from a V.A. transplant center, the less likely they were to be on the waiting list. And if they did manage to get on the list, they were less likely to receive a transplant compared with patients who lived closer.”

“Furthermore, the farther they lived from the center, the more likely they were to die waiting for a transplant.”

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