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James J. Peters VA Medical Center

 

Renal Transplant Program

The JJPVAMC Renal Transplant Program mission is to advance transplant care for Veterans through clinical excellence, leadership and advocacy.

The James J. Peters VAMC Renal Transplant Program (RTP) launched in September, 2016. It is the 7th renal transplant program within the VA System, a much needed addition to serve the over 35,000 Veterans living with end-stage renal disease in the nation. Our program operates under the JJP Kidney Care Center – which offers a full spectrum of care and treatment options to Veterans diagnosed with kidney disease.

The JJP renal transplant program has a dedicated full time nephrologist and surgeon on staff and operates 24/7, 7 days a week. Surgical coverage and additional clinical expertise is provided by our affiliate, Mount Sinai Hospital.

The leadership of the RTP was recruited from private sector transplant centers. They bring with them a commitment to ensure quality customer service and access to the highest standard of care including innovative services such as paired kidney exchange, dual listing, transplantation of Hepatitis C recipients and a living donor outreach campaign.

About kidney transplant and the evaluation process within the VA System

A kidney transplant is often the treatment of choice for kidney failure compared to a lifetime on dialysis. Compared to dialysis, kidney transplant is associated with: better quality of life, lower risk of death, and fewer dietary restrictions.

For certain people with kidney failure, a kidney transplant may be more risky than dialysis. Conditions that may prevent a Veteran from being eligible for transplant include: severe heart disease, active or recently treated cancer, poorly controlled mental illness, alcohol or drug abuse, and any other factor that could affect their ability to safely undergo the procedure and take the medications needed to prevent rejection. Therefore, a full evaluation must be conducted in order to determine the safety and benefit of transplantation.

In the VA System, the referral coordinators at the “home VA” will schedule several tests (imaging, cardiac reports, history/physical examinations etc.) for all potential candidates. Once completed, these tests will be sent to our transplant clinicians for review. If there are no obvious contraindications—an in-person or telehealth evaluation will be scheduled within 30 days. Transportation and Lodging is covered by the VA for the Veteran and their support person.

The onsite evaluation takes approximately 3-4 hours. Veterans will meet with all members of the interdisciplinary team including the surgeon, nephrologist, RN and social worker. After the evaluation, the transplant team will discuss the results and determine whether the Veteran requires additional testing or is eligible to be placed on the national deceased donor waiting list.

Finding a Kidney for Our Veterans

There are 2 types of kidney transplants:

Deceased Donor Transplant — This is when the recipient is placed on a national waiting list to receive a kidney from a person who has died. The wait can take many years depending on blood type and medical background.

Living Donor Transplant — This is when a healthy person donates one of their kidneys to the recipient. Only one donated kidney is needed to replace 2 failed kidneys which makes living donation an option. A living donor can be a relative, friend or an altruistic person. The living donor must undergo testing to ensure it is safe for them to donate. **The donor evaluation and surgery is covered by the VA. Transportation and lodging is covered for the potential donor and their support person as well. Non-Veterans are eligible to donate.

Living Donor Outreach Program

Living Donation offers the best quality kidney in the shortest amount of time. We at JJPVAMC strongly believe No Veteran Should Have to Wait for a kidney. Therefore, we have developed a robust outreach program to educate the community about living donation. Our staff will actively work with each patient to seek living donors. We also participate in national live donor paired exchange programs. Our wish is to find a live donor for each of our listed Veterans!

Visiting Us

Many of Veterans need to travel great distances in order to access our transplant program. Our staff will work closely with each Veteran and their home VA to ensure all travel and lodging arrangements are carefully coordinated.

TRAVEL AND LODGING COSTS ARE COVERED BY THE VA FOR BOTH THE RECIPIENT AND THEIR SUPPORT PERSON. TRAVEL AND LODGING COSTS ARE ALSO COVERED FOR THE POTENTIAL LIVING DONOR AND THEIR SUPPORT PERSON.

By Airport

The Bronx VA is approximately 10 miles from LaGuardia Airport and 20 miles from JFK Airport.

Overnight Accommodations

• The Bronx VA has contracted with a Hyatt Place hotel in Yonkers—5 miles away. Shuttle service to/from the hospital is provided.

• Pending availability, ‘hoptel” rooms are located within the medical center for those who prefer to stay onsite.

JJP Transplant Team

Our Team

Marie Le, MD, FACS, Surgical Director - Dr. Le is a board -certified general surgeon who completed her transplant fellowship in 2011 at Mount Sinai Hospital. Prior to launching the JJP program, Dr. Le served as an attending surgeon at Geisinger Medical Center where she performed liver, kidney and pancreas transplants as well as laparoscopic donor nephrectomies. Dr. Le is proud to serve our Veterans and is dedicated to increasing access to transplant and living donation throughout the VA System.

Anita Mehrotra, MD, Medical Director - Dr. Mehrotra is a board-certified nephrologist and is the Medical Director of the Renal Transplant Program. Dr. Mehrotra completed her nephrology and transplant fellowships at Mount Sinai in 2010. She remained on staff at Mount Sinai as an attending physician until she was recruited to the JJP VA in 2016. She remains an Assistant Professor at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and is an active clinical researcher in nephrology and solid-organ transplantation.

Etti Zeldis, MD, Nephrologist - Dr. Zeldis has been a full time faculty member of the nephrology division at the JJP VA since 2015. Dr. Zeldis completed her nephrology and transplant nephrology fellowships at Mount Sinai. In addition to maintaining a clinic and dialysis case load, Dr. Zeldis serves as the program’s living donor nephrologist. She also provides clinical transplant coverage that enables JJP to operate 24/7, 7 days week. Dr. Zeldis’ clinical/research focus is health care quality.

Jessica Fitzpatrick, MSN, RN, CCTC, NE-BC, Clinical & QA Director - Jessica Fitzpatrick Jessica has been a nurse for 20 years with experience in ICU and critical care. She became a transplant coordinator in 2008. Prior to joining JJPVAMC, she was a Lead Transplant Coordinator at Hackensack Medical Center. As Clinical and Quality Director of a new program, Jessica hopes to support inpatient and outpatient clinical teams to provide excellent care for transplant patients.

Jin Chan Lu, NP, Clinical Coordinator - Jin Chan Lu, NP received her nursing degree in 2006. She had mostly worked on medical/surgical and ICU floors until obtaining her NP degree in 2013. For the past 3 years Jin has worked in primary care community health centers affiliated with NY Presbyterian. Jin joined the JJP staff in 2016 and serves as clinical transplant coordinator. Jin is particularly interested in individualized patient education and is developing clinical interventions to ensure long term success, post- transplant.

Jocelyn Coyle, RN, Clinical Coordinator - Jocelyn Coyle , RN Upon graduating from nursing school in 2008, Jocelyn began her career at JJP where she worked in the ICU for 8 years. During this time, Jocelyn obtained a Masters in Nursing Education and joined the Simulation Committee at JJP. She also taught clinical rotations at Westchester Medical Center. Jocelyn transferred to the Renal Transplant Program at JJP in 2016. Jocelyn now serves as a pre-transplant coordinator. In the future, she would like to assist in developing protocols and training modules for clinical staff throughout the medical center to ensure quality care for transplant patients throughout the continuum of care.

Sharyn Kreitzer, LMSW, Administrator - Sharyn Kreitzer, LMSW has 20 years of experience working with ESRD patients. She started her career as a dialysis social worker at Mt. Sinai. She transferred to the transplant institute at Mt Sinai where she worked in various positions in outreach, education and program development. Sharyn was instrumental in growing the live donor program at Mount Sinai. As an Administrator at JJP, she hopes to develop initiatives to increase access to live donor transplantation. As she states “No Vet Should Wait!” Sharyn along with the JJP Staff will work hard to ensure the highest level of customer service to providers and patients.

Charisse James, MSW, Social Worker - Charisse James, MSW received her MSW in 2015 from Silberman School of Social Work. She has been employed at JJP as a HUD/VASH social worker for over 4 years. In addition to her outreach work with homeless Veterans, Charisse is an in-house employee trainer. She is also actively involved with the AFGE local 2790 Union. Charisse joined transplant in 2017 and is hoping to bring her strong advocacy and outreach background to help prepare and strengthen Veterans’ readiness for transplant.

David Perez, Medical Assistant - David Perez joined JJP Renal Transplant Program in Feb 2017. He previously worked as an Advanced Medical Support Assistant in Primary Care at the White Plains VA. David also has 8 years of experience as a Patient Care Technician in adult and pediatric ICU,’s and ER’s at New York Presbyterian Hospital. David is looking forward to giving compassionate care to all of the Veterans. He also hopes to strengthen outreach initiatives relative to organ donation and transplant within the Hispanic community.

Contact Info

Location

  • JJP Bronx Medical Center
    Kidney Care Center, 4th Floor Area C

Contact Number(s)

  • 718-741-4444

Hours of Operation

  • Office Hours: 8am-4:30pm
    Surgical/Emergency: 24/7