#SupportOPOs: What Does It Mean?

The federal government is considering adopting several changes to the organ donation system that could impact the work LifeCenter does. What does it all mean? Here’s an easy explanation:

Right now, the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Center for Medicaid Services (CMS) want to change how the government measures the successes of our nation’s 58 Organ Procurement Organizations (OPOs). HHS/CMS believe that improving the way OPOs are measured will encourage some OPOs to make organizational changes, which would result in more organs being available for transplant.

For years, OPOs like LifeCenter have had multiple consecutive record-breaking years in saving lives. There have been year-over-year increases in organ donation for nine consecutive years. The U.S. today has the highest transplant rate of any country, and our donation rate is nearly double that of Europe.

Here’s the problem: Initially, we agreed with HHS/CMS that we should find ways to improve the system. That’s why earlier this year, we, the nation’s foremost experts in the field of donation and transplantation, offered HHS/CMS ways that OPOs believe would make the most positive change.

Unfortunately, HHS/CMS chose to ignore our recommendations. Instead they have proposed new OPO measures, based on an outdated, questionable report funded by a special interest group. Their proposed changes would drastically and negatively affect the organ donation process and could result in 75% of the nation’s OPOs closing in one year. A change this hasty would destabilize the donation/transplantation system nationally, undoubtedly leading to both lost donation opportunities and lost lives.

We still believe that measurements could be changed to benefit the U.S. organ donation system and save and heal more lives. However, HHS/CMS need to enact measurement changes which are based on solid data and which would hold accountable transplant centers, donor hospitals, and medical examiners, as we work as a team on each donation and transplantation case.

What can you do?

Source: Center for Organ Recovery & Education

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