Baylor College of Medicine publicly endorses Medicare’s proposed rule on Organ Procurement Organizations (OPOs) Conditions for Coverage

By David White

February 21, 2020

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.)

"More than 113,000 people in the U.S. are in need of a lifesaving organ transplant, and every ten minutes someone is added to the national transplant waiting list. Unfortunately, nearly half of all listed candidates will die waiting for a transplant. Research suggests there are approximately 28,000 organs available annually from donors that are not being utilized,” Baylor wrote in its statement of support.

The statement continued with “Baylor College of Medicine supports these efforts – firmly believing that more accountability is needed to increase the rate at which organs are recovered and that innovative approaches are crucial to increase the number of living donors.”

Baylor specifically highlighted four critical areas the proposed rule addresses.

  1. Improve oversight of organ procurement organizations (OPOs).
  2. Support efforts to increase innovation and competition among OPOs
  3. Resist imposing unnecessary or expensive burdens on hospitals
  4. Encourage and enhance efforts to make donations easier and more desirable to patients and families
     

Baylor pointed out that “a study from the University of Pennsylvania and others found significant discrepancies in organ recovery rates by OPO, as did HHS based on objective data already held by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).”

"It's exciting to be a part of a healthcare organization that is engaging in discussions around organ transplant policies and that is committed to helping policy makers find ways to increase the availability of organs for transplant," commented Kevin F. Erickson, MD, MS, a member of the ASN Quality Committee and nephrology faculty at Baylor College of Medicine. 

In addition to supporting the proposed rule along with ASN, Baylor also joined ASN in supporting the recent proposal to extend reimbursable expenses for living donors to include lost wages and childcare costs in an attempt to reduce financial barriers for organ donation.

“We believe the efforts outlined above would make meaningful change to our country’s current organ donation policy, reduce organ shortages, and save lives. To our knowledge, we are the only academic institution publicly speaking out about ways to improve organ donation. It is our hope that many others will join us to help instigate and implement real, lasting change in how organ transplants are delivered, defined and experienced in the U.S.,” Baylor concluded.

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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.)

"More than 113,000 people in the U.S. are in need of a lifesaving organ transplant, and every ten minutes someone is added to the national transplant waiting list. Unfortunately, nearly half of all listed candidates will die waiting for a transplant. Research suggests there are approximately 28,000 organs available annually from donors that are not being utilized,” Baylor wrote in its statement of support.

The statement continued with “Baylor College of Medicine supports these efforts – firmly believing that more accountability is needed to increase the rate at which organs are recovered and that innovative approaches are crucial to increase the number of living donors.”

Baylor specifically highlighted four critical areas the proposed rule addresses.

  1. Improve oversight of organ procurement organizations (OPOs).
  2. Support efforts to increase innovation and competition among OPOs
  3. Resist imposing unnecessary or expensive burdens on hospitals
  4. Encourage and enhance efforts to make donations easier and more desirable to patients and families
     

Baylor pointed out that “a study from the University of Pennsylvania and others found significant discrepancies in organ recovery rates by OPO, as did HHS based on objective data already held by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).”

"It's exciting to be a part of a healthcare organization that is engaging in discussions around organ transplant policies and that is committed to helping policy makers find ways to increase the availability of organs for transplant," commented Kevin F. Erickson, MD, MS, a member of the ASN Quality Committee and nephrology faculty at Baylor College of Medicine. 

In addition to supporting the proposed rule along with ASN, Baylor also joined ASN in supporting the recent proposal to extend reimbursable expenses for living donors to include lost wages and childcare costs in an attempt to reduce financial barriers for organ donation.

“We believe the efforts outlined above would make meaningful change to our country’s current organ donation policy, reduce organ shortages, and save lives. To our knowledge, we are the only academic institution publicly speaking out about ways to improve organ donation. It is our hope that many others will join us to help instigate and implement real, lasting change in how organ transplants are delivered, defined and experienced in the U.S.,” Baylor concluded.

Date:
Friday, February 21, 2020