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Discussing a New Federal Policy for OPOs

Hello everyone,

I hope you're all doing well! 2020 is nearly over, and it's definitely been an unprecedented year for sure. Regardless, let's get into this month's post.


Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services update an OPO Policy

A new policy recently finalized by the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services aims to increase the number of transplants performed , so fewer people die waiting. However, this change highlights chronic geographic disparities. Certain areas have longer waiting lists than others–for example, the NYC metropolitan area has a much longer wait time than some areas of the Midwest.

"Some organ procurement organizations — called OPOs — point to the geographic differences in causes of death as the main reason they collect fewer organs compared to OPOs in other regions. But is that the full reason behind the disparities? No one can say for sure, because data-gathering has never been standardized across the United States — OPOs have always self-reported their data. Under the new rules, that will end."

Now, all OPOs will be measured by the same standard: the number of organ donations achievable as a percentage of the total number of hospital patients under age 75 who die in that region from certain causes of death known to be favorable for organ donation.

However, this isn't a change supported by all. Many are objecting to the portion of the revised policy that says low-performing OPOs that do not improve may be taken over by high-performers. Ultimately, this is a topic that is very multi-faceted and complex, so only time will tell what the correct solution might be.


That's it for this month's post! I wish you all Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year–here's to 2021 being better for us all. It's looking like I'll be going on-campus to TCNJ next semester, so look forward to some of my blog posts being uploaded from there. See you all in the new year!

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