Expanding Our Mission

Kentucky Organ Donor Affiliates and LifeCenter Organ Donor Network Sign Letter of Intent to Merge, Creating the 16th Largest Organ Procurement Organization in the United States

The combined organization represents growth and innovation at a crucial juncture when the support provided by both organizations is increasingly vital. This exciting announcement comes after an incredible year of 421 organ donors and 1,083 organs transplanted. That means over 1,000 lives were saved within KODA and LifeCenter’s combined service area.

With KODA and LifeCenter offering indispensable services to their respective regions, this union revolutionizes the landscape of donation.

CINCINNATI/NKY Tristate Area and Kentucky (February 2nd, 2024)
Kentucky Organ Donor Affiliates (KODA) and LifeCenter Organ Donor Network (LifeCenter), two nonprofit Organ Procurement Organizations (OPOs), recently announced they have signed a letter of intent to create a leading integrated donation merger. Following the negotiation and execution of a definitive agreement, regulatory approvals and completion of closing conditions, the regional organization will be better positioned to provide an enhanced level of service that will increase organ, eye and tissue donation and expand outreach and education.

Both KODA and LifeCenter are mission-driven OPOs with extensive capabilities in facilitating organ, eye and tissue donation, while honoring those who gave, which have consistently demonstrated positive impacts in improving donation and transplantation in their respective communities. Combined, they will accelerate access to leading-edge donation services created to meet the needs of the populations they serve. The complementary capabilities will be further strengthened by both organizations’ resources. This will increase opportunities for organ, eye and tissue donation and of registered donors. Upon merging, the regional organization will serve nearly 7 million people throughout 136 counties in Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana, and West Virginia and 164 hospitals and 6 transplant centers.

“In this momentous merger between LifeCenter Organ Donor Network and Kentucky Organ Donor Affiliates, we are not just merging two organizations, but we are uniting two teams of dedicated professionals,” Barry Massa, LifeCenter Executive Director expressed. “This collaboration marks a new chapter in our shared mission to save lives through organ, eye and tissue donation. We are harnessing the collective strengths, expertise, and compassion of both teams to enhance our services and reach. Together, we stand committed to innovation, excellence, and, most importantly, to making a lasting difference in the lives of those waiting for a miracle. This merger is a pivotal step forward, symbolizing a future where organ, eye and tissue donation becomes more impactful and far-reaching than ever before.”

“As we embark on this exciting journey of merging Kentucky Organ Donor Affiliates with LifeCenter Organ Donor Network, our commitment to saving and enhancing lives through organ donation is stronger than ever,” stated Julie Bergin, KODA President and CEO. “This merger isn’t just about combining resources; it’s a fusion of shared values and a collective vision to revolutionize organ donation and transplantation. Together, we are poised to make a more significant impact, reaching more people and ultimately, turning hope into healing for countless individuals and families. Our united efforts will shape a future where the gift of life is a hopeful and accessible reality for all.”

Combination benefits will include:

    • Expanded Reach: A larger footprint means increased accessibility, making donation opportunities available to a broader population. The combined organization will be the largest OPO in the region and 16th largest in the country, serving more than 7 million people across four states and 136 counties. This expanded reach facilitates the potential to increase donation and transplantation more efficiently, ultimately saving more lives.
    • Improved Donation Process: Maximizing both organizations’ services enhances the efficiency and effectiveness of the donation process. Streamlining procedures, optimizing logistics, and utilizing advanced technologies ensure that organs, corneas and tissues can be recovered and transplanted promptly. This not only increases the likelihood of successful transplants, but also minimizes the time organs spend outside the body, improving their viability.
    • Education & Awareness: A broader outreach and enhanced services contribute to heightened public awareness about the importance of organ donation. Educating our region and community fosters a culture of empathy and encourages more individuals to register as donors. As a result, the increased donor pool addresses the persistent shortage of organs, eyes and tissues, positively impacting countless lives awaiting transplantation.
    • Volunteer Engagement: KODA & LifeCenter have strong volunteer bases comprised of individuals and corporate partners who can support our community outreach and programmatic efforts to engage our community to be organ, cornea and tissue donors.
    • Employee Benefits: This merger will create opportunities for professional growth and development for KODA & LifeCenter employees, peer support, and access to more resources. These two strong organizations coming together will create opportunities for interchange and advancement.
    • Potential for National Impact & Leadership Among OPOs: The enhanced leadership and impact of the merged OPO will not only improve patient outcomes, but also positions us as a national leader in our services. This recognition can attract additional support and partnerships, further fueling our mission to increase organ donation rates and address the critical shortage of organs on a broader scale. In essence, the merger presents a unique opportunity for the combined OPO to achieve a greater national prominence, elevating our impact and leadership in the realm of organ procurement, tissue recovery and transplantation.

The parties expect to sign a definitive agreement and close the transaction in the 4th quarter of 2024, pending completion of all necessary regulatory reviews and closing conditions. Both KODA and LifeCenter will continue to operate as separate, independent entities until the combination closes. Both OPOs are committed to ensuring people in need of organ and tissue transplants, the donor families, and communities they serve and educate will continue to have access to exceptional care and resources during completion of this process.

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ADDENDUM

About Kentucky Organ Donor Affiliates (KODA)

KODA’s mission is to provide organs and tissues to those in need and to maintain a profound respect for those who give the gift of life through community outreach and education, hospital partnerships, clinical expertise, and basic research into donation and transplantation advancements.

Founded in 1987, KODA serves 114 counties in Kentucky, four counties in southern Indiana and two counties in western West Virginia.

About LifeCenter Organ Donor Network (LifeCenter)

LifeCenter‘s mission is to save, heal and change lives through organ, eye and tissue donation, while honoring those who gave. Our mission is fueled by our commitment to honor, inspire and connect with the community until everyone in need of organ, eye and tissue donation receives their gift.

Founded in 1981, LifeCenter serves eight counties in Southwest Ohio, six counties Northern Kentucky, and two counties in Southeast Indiana.

About KODA & LifeCenter

Both nonprofit OPOs are federally designated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and are accredited by the American Association of Tissue Banks (AATB) and regulated by the Food & Drug Administration (FDA), members of the United Network of Organ Sharing (UNOS) and Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN).

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