Organ org seeks fairer liver transplant network
- The Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN) unveiled 15 proposals for public comment.
- The package included three liver policy proposals, one of which seeks to change the geographic distribution system for liver transplants to reallocate borders and allow for wider sharing.
- Demand for available organs changes throughout the country, according to The Associated Press, adding, "That means someone in California or New York, among the toughest places to get a new liver, tends to be sicker before getting a transplant than someone in South Carolina or Washington state."
Earlier this year, the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS), the nation’s Organ Procurement and Transplant Network, reported the number of organ transplants in the U.S. exceeded 30,000 in 2015 and donations totaled more than 9,000. Both numbers were record-high.
The proposal re-zones the mapping systems that dictates how donated livers are distributed to patients. The change seeks to "better match organ supply with demand, ensuring more equitable access for those in need of liver transplant regardless of their place of residence or listing," OPTN stated.
The proposal comes a week after a Stat report found pressure to meet federal performance standards is causing some hospitals to discard less-than-perfect organs and deny extremely ill patients transplants. The fear is that imperfect organs and very sick patients increase the odds of poor outcomes, which can impact a hospitals’ performance rating and reimbursement.
In June, the White House announced actions to funnel $200 million to research and developments to reduce the organ wait list. One of which included that UNOS will increase efficiencies in the organ procurement and transplant system as well as the potential number of transplants through new technology and data tools that are open to transplant centers and the research community.
Comments will be taken until October 15.
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