Monday, September 15, 2014

Yoder announces opposition to proposed changes to rules for liver transplants

News Release:
KANSAS CITY, KAN. ----- Congressman Kevin Yoder (R-KS), along with more than 50 of his colleagues, has written to Administrator Mary Wakefield, at the Health Resources and Services Administration, to express concerns regarding a concept paper released by the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) Liver and Intestine Committee.

The proposed concept paper would change the rules governing the allocation of livers for transplant. Under these proposed changes from UNOS, the geographic boundaries for sharing of donor livers would be significantly broadened, with the goal of reducing the disparities in liver allocation across the country.

Wider geographic organ sharing will increase access for larger, urban transplant centers on the east and west coasts while limiting organ availability for patients in the rest of the country, such as regions in the midwest and south. The UNOS Liver and Intestine Committee is expected to meet in Chicago on September 16 to discuss this proposal.

“There is a critical shortage of donor livers in the United States and a large geographic disparity in the rates of organ donation,” said Congressman Yoder. “Kansans, and the Midwest as a whole, are historically generous organ donors and UNOS should not adopt proposals that punish successful programs and decrease access to organs where donation rates are highest. We must implement programs that raise the organ donor consent rate in the areas of the country where disparities in wait times are the greatest.”

Currently, there are over 12,000 patients listed for liver transplant and typically 6,000 liver transplants performed annually. In addition to this letter, more than 40 transplant professionals from across the country have also expressed significant concerns regarding the scientific and economic rationales of the UNOS proposal.