PHOENIX – A second person denied transplant coverage by Arizona under a state budget cut has died, with this death "most likely" resulting from the coverage reduction, a Tucson hospital said Wednesday.
University Medical Center spokeswoman Jo Marie Gellerman said the patient died Dec. 28 at another medical facility after earlier being removed from UMC's list for a liver transplant needed because of hepatitis C.
Gellerman cited medical privacy requirements in declining to release any information about the patient.
Arizona reduced Medicaid coverage for transplants on Oct. 1 under cuts included to help close a shortfall in the state budget enacted last spring.
Hospital officials said the patient's death "most likely" resulted from Arizona's scaling back coverage for transplants, she said.
It's impossible to say with 100 percent certainty whether the patient would have died anyway, Gellerman said, "but we do know that his condition has gotten more severe since he was taken off the list."
The patient's worsening condition would have elevated his place on the list, she added.
A Phoenix-area man, Mark Price, died Nov. 28 of complications from preparation for a bone-marrow transplant that was to be privately funded. That funding was provided anonymously after The Associated Press and other media outlets reported that he was notified of two possible donors on Oct. 1, the same day the coverage was reduced.
The second person's death was reported by KOLD-TV in Tucson and the Arizona Guardian.