The demand for transplantable organs in the United States has long outpaced the supply. Right now, more than 16,000 people across the country are waiting for liver transplants.
Unfortunately, the nation’s organ allocation system continues to make an already dire situation worse by creating geographic disparities in access to organs for transplant: people living in some parts of the country wait far longer and are sicker when they receive an organ than those in other parts of the country.
Consequently, hundreds of Americans needlessly die every year while waiting for organs.
While a new liver allocation policy that eliminates arbitrary geographic boundaries and prioritizes patient need is set to be implemented by May 1, 2019, work is needed to ensure the policy is implemented as intended.
Get Involved: OPTN Adopts New Liver Allocation Policy, Awaiting Implementation
In December 2018, after several years of public comment and debate, OPTN voted overwhelmingly to adopt a liver allocation policy that eliminates arbitrary geographic boundaries and prioritizes patient need. The new system, labeled the “Acuity Model,” is set to be implemented by May 1, 2019. Transplant centers in regions of the country that have historically enjoyed preferred access to liver transplants have vowed to block the OPTN policy and have already mobilized to do so.
What’s next is an all-hands-on-deck effort to block this opposition and ensure that the policy is implemented as OPTN intended. We ask all who support improved, equitable patient access to liver transplants to stand with us to defend the new reforms against efforts to undermine, including via authorizing legislation or riders to the appropriations process. We need your help to succeed, and success means saving lives.
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The National Coalition for Transplant Equity (NCTE) is a collection of stakeholders and patients committed to advancing and protecting improvements in patient access to organs for transplant. First and foremost, NCTE supports the liver allocation policy newly-adopted by the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN) that will reduce geographic disparities in wait times, patient acuity at time of transplant, and organ failure-related deaths. Inherent in this endeavor is the need to increase public and policymaker awareness regarding the life-threatening flaws of the existing process governing organ distribution, and to ensure the adopted reforms are implemented to improve patient outcomes nationwide.