Springfield News-Sun | Tom Stafford
Photo: Laura Hildebrand donated her kidney and was a perfect match for her husband, Jim. Photo Credit: Bill Lackey
Medicare pays billions annually on kidney care, and more cases possible as health problems increase.Springfield woman hands out fliers to find her own potential donor match.
Heather Dwyer rented a table at a festival in Urbana this summer and printed 500 fliers and 1,000 business cards to advertise that she’s a person with Type B blood looking on her own for a kidney donor to match.
If she gets a transplanted kidney, the woman whose heart stopped three times last year in the operating room won’t be the only one to benefit.
So will the public health insurance program Medicare, which spent $29 billion in 2009 on kidney care.
Danielle Estep, a spokeswoman for the National Kidney Foundation Serving Ohio and Kentucky, said that, on average, it costs $71,000 a year to treat a dialysis patient and $17,000 for a transplant recipient.
Even taking into account the cost of the transplant operation, Medicare estimates the financial break-even point at three years, shorter than most energy saving light bulbs.