(Washington, D.C., February 18, 2021) Today, Global Liver Institute (GLI) submitted a letter directly to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary-Designee Xavier Becerra, Office of Management and Budget Director Nominee Neera Tanden, and the Chair of the COVID-19 Health Equity Task Force, Dr. Marcella Nunez-Smith, asking them to urgently implement the life-saving Organ Procurement Organization (OPO) reform measures.
Specifically, GLI respectfully requested that the administration urgently advance the recently published lifesaving, pro-patient HHS regulations titled “Medicare and Medicaid Programs; Organ Procurement Organizations Conditions for Coverage: Revisions to the Outcome Measure Requirements for Organ Procurement Organizations; Final rule.” GLI also submitted a formal comment stressing that any further delays in the implementation of these measures are a death sentence for many of our most vulnerable patients.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, on average more than 13,000 liver patients in the U.S. waited for a lifesaving transplant every year, and, sadly, three people would die everyday while waiting.(1) Now with the increased risk of organ failure in addition to the serious health outcomes due to COVID-19, those same patients are at an even greater risk of death.(2)(3) On top of these startling numbers is the reality that, from getting on the waitlist to finding a match to becoming a donor, patients of color who need an organ have more adverse experiences within an organ donation system deeply rooted in inequity. (4)
In response to this crisis, we need immediate congressional oversight and administration action. Over the last few years, we have consistently stressed the value of these lifesaving reform measures. They will positively shorten waiting lists and save lives by incentivizing OPOs to increase the number of safe and timely transplants. These measures also act as a prompt and strategic approach for the administration to provide immediate support to communities of color who have always been hit hardest by liver disease.
1) Organ Procurement Transplantation Network, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
About Global Liver Institute
Global Liver Institute (GLI) is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt not-for-profit organization, headquartered in Washington, D.C., United States, with offices in the U.S. and Europe. GLI’s vision is for liver health to take its place on the global public health agenda commensurate with its prevalence and impact. GLI’s mission is to improve the lives of individuals and families impacted by liver disease through promoting innovation, encouraging collaboration, and supporting the scaling of optimal approaches to help eradicate liver diseases. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn.