A forthcoming White House Summit on organ donations and transplants offers an important opportunity to discuss initiatives to increase organ transplant donation, and how pending reforms to organ distribution can save lives by reducing disparities in wait times.
April 8, 2016
For Immediate Release
Contact: Billy Wynne, (202) 309-0796, firstname.lastname@example.org
Today, the National Coalition for Transplant Equity (NCTE) applauded the announcement of a White House Summit on initiatives to shorten the time to receive life-saving organ transplants. With more than 120,000 people on the waiting list for an organ in the United States, NCTE commends the White House for recognizing the importance of organ donation and the lives that are saved by this selfless act. Each year, approximately 6,000 Americans make the noble decision to become a living organ donor, facilitating life-saving kidney and liver transplants.
“The issue of access to organ transplants hits close to home for millions of Americans who have loved ones anxiously waiting to find out whether they will receive a life-saving transplant,” stated Harriet Melvin, Executive Director of NCTE. “We are pleased the President has placed a such high importance on organ donation by fostering a national conversation on how to improve availability and access to organs for patients in need of transplants.”
The forthcoming White House Summit will offer an important opportunity to address the challenges and opportunities in improving the current system for organ donation. For example, the nation’s organ allocation system creates geographic disparities in access to organs: people living in some parts of the country wait far longer and are sicker when they receive organs than those in other parts of the country. Consequently, over a hundred Americans needlessly die every year waiting for organs.
Currently, the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) – a contractor designated by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) – is considering a reform proposal that would significantly reduce geographic disparities in liver distribution. Stakeholders have encouraged UNOS to expedite the process and release recommendations for public comment as soon as this summer.
“We look forward to the Summit examining the new, innovative ways to increase success of donations and, equally as important, ensure that those most in need of transplants are able to receive them regardless of where they live,” Ms. Melvin said. “The White House Summit offers a vital opportunity to spotlight the fact that by increasing the size of the regions used to determine organ allocation, discrepancies in wait times can be reduced and hundreds of lives can be saved.”
Ahead of the White House Summit and in honor of National Donate Life Month, NCTE encourages individuals to consider registering to donate themselves. To register as an organ donor or learn more, visit www.organdonor.gov.
The National Coalition for Transplant Equity (NCTE) is a collection of stakeholders committed to improving patient access to organs for transplant. Consistent with the models examined by the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) in its concept paper titled Redesigning Liver Distribution to Reduce Variation in Access to Liver Transplantation, NCTE advances policies that reduce geographic disparities in wait times, patient acuity at the time of transplant, and organ failure-related deaths. Inherent in this endeavor is the need to increase public and policymaker awareness regarding the current process governing organ distribution, its flaws, and how reforms can improve patient outcomes nationwide.