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U.S. Plans to Overhaul Organ Transplant System

March 23, 2023

The federal government has launched a multi-year “modernization initiative” to update the nation’s organ transplant system, officials announced this week.

On Wednesday, the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) issued a statement saying it was focused on strengthening accountability and transparency in the nation’s Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN). President Biden’s 2024 budget more than doubles the resources available ($67 million) to support HRSA’s organ transplantation programs, including the modernization initiative, officials said.

“At HRSA, our stewardship and oversight of this vital work is a top priority,” said Carole Johnson, HRSA administrator. “That is why we are taking action to both bring greater transparency to the system and to reform and modernize the OPTN. The individuals and families that depend on this life-saving work deserve no less.”

Here’s what you need to know:

  • Overall goal:  In a statement, HRSA officials said they wanted to update the transplant network to “better serve the needs of patients and families.” The agency is looking to strengthen accountability, equity, and performance in the organ donation and transplantation system.
  • New feature:  This week, HRSA launched a new data dashboard to share de-identified information about organ donors, organ procurement, transplant waitlists, and transplant recipients.
  • Areas of focus:  The focus areas include technology, data transparency, governance, operations, and quality improvement and innovation.
  • Next steps:  HRSA said it planned to move forward by making data available online, securing budgetary support for modernization efforts, engaging stakeholders and industry officials, and soliciting proposals for modernization, among other efforts.
  • Quotable:  “Every day, patients and families across the United States rely on the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network to save the lives of their loved ones who experience organ failure,” Johnson said.

Additional information about the modernization initiative is available online.

Every year, HAP partners with the Pennsylvania Department of Health, and the Center for Organ Recovery & Education (CORE), and the Gift of Life Donor Program—the two organ procurement organizations serving Pennsylvania—to support the HAP Donate Life Pennsylvania Hospital Challenge. HAP, CORE, and Gift of Life will publicly acknowledge participating hospital efforts, sharing their awareness activities and designations at the end of the challenge.

As we approach Donate Life Month, HAP and Pennsylvania’s hospitals encourage everyone to learn about the critical need for organ, eye, and tissue donors, and to celebrate those that have saved lives through the gift of donation. Learn more about this year’s challenge.