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ASN applauds the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for amending the emergency use authorizations for both the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine and the Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine to allow for the use of an additional dose in certain immunocompromised individuals, including kidney transplant recipients. 

Investigators discovered that kidney failure symptoms tended to increase or remain unchanged between transplant evaluation and transplantation; however, three months after transplantation, 9 of 11 symptoms lessened.

Kidney transplantation saves lives. For many people with kidney failure, transplant offers longer survival, greater quality of life, and lower associated costs compared to dialysis.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has asked ASN to share with its members that the ESRD Quality Reporting System (EQRS) has been suspended due to data submitting issues. 

Users are asked not to submit additional data at this time CMS writes “We are committed to ensuring the accuracy and reliability of our data, and are working to rapidly resolve these issues.”

David White

This week, the Baylor College of Medicine became the first academic center and care provider to publicly announce its support for the changes included in Medicare’s proposed rule on Organ Procurement Organizations (OPOs) Conditions for Coverage: Revisions to the Outcome Measure Requirements for Organ Procurement Organizations – joining the American Society of Nephrology (ASN) in its support of the proposed rule. ASN expressed its support in a separate comment letter and made recommendations for improvement. (ASN’s comments and recommendations will be covered in Kidney News’ March edition.)

ASN Staff

An investigation from Kaiser Health News and Reveal from the Center for Investigative Reporting found that “between 2014 and 2019, nearly 170 organs could not be transplanted and almost 370 endured ‘near misses,’ with delays of two hours or more,” due to transportation problems.  Nearly 113,000 people in the United States waiting for transplants, yet many organs, especially kidneys, are needlessly wasted because they do not reach their destination on time due to transportation issues.

Zachary Kribs

On Thursday, January 23 ASN Councilor Crystal Gadegbeku, MD, FASN, along with 4 co-authors representing leading voices in organ and transplant policy, proposed a suite of improvements to the United States’ organ procurement and donation system at the launch of the highly-anticipated Day One Project.

Joined by former Obama and Trump administration staff (including ASN President’s Medal recipient Abe Sutton) as well as the Executive Director of the Global Liver Institute and a patient advocate, Dr. Gadegbeku highlighted four ASN goals that should be prioritized:

ASN Staff

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) took bold steps today, December 17, in two proposed rules to increase the availability of organs for the 113,000 Americans waiting for a lifesaving organ transplant – 20 of whom die each day – and to strengthen support for Americans who choose to be living donors.  Both proposed rules advance policy changes the American Society of Nephrology has long been advocating for and is strongly supportive of.

ASN Staff

In an opinion piece published this week in USAToday.com, contributors Andy Slavitt and Adam Brandon argue that many patients waiting for organ transplants pass away waiting, not due to lack of donors, but because of a “government-run monopoly”. They are referring to organ procurement organizations (OPOs), which are regional organizations in the US “charged with showing up at the hospital and working with the surviving family to coordinate a potential donation”. Research has found that OPOs are inefficient causing “28,000 organs to go uncovered from potential donors each year” in the US.

Rachel Meyer

In a Friday, October 4, Washington Post opinion piece, former White House Office of Science and Technology Policy staffer Jennifer Erickson calls for a reform of the current United States organ procurement system. Erickson cites research that "thousands of organs go unrecovered every year from potential donors across the country." These missed opportunities for organ recovery occur, she argues, due to mismanagement by organ procurement organizations (OPOs), the nonprofit government contractors responsible for organ procurement and placement. Because OPOs self-report their own performance data, the reporting is “functionally useless” with “no system accountability,” said Erickson’s former colleague from the Obama administration U.S. Chief Data Scientist DJ Patil.