AKF Weighs in on Proposals to Help Living Donors and Increase Donation and Transplantation Rates

As the Trump Administration moves to implement its Advancing American Kidney Health initiative, it has asked for input from patient organizations like the American Kidney Fund (AKF). We submitted comments on two recent proposals from the Administration that are intended to increase the number of kidneys available for transplant.

The U.S. Department of Health Human Services (HHS) and the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) published a notice of proposed rulemaking that seeks to remove financial barriers to living organ donation. HRSA proposes to expand the scope of reimbursable expenses for living organ donors that are available through the National Living Donor Assistance Center (NLDAC). Currently, the NLDAC provides reimbursements for lower-income donors who lack other forms of financial support to help offset the costs of travel, lodging, meals, and incidental expenditures related to donor evaluation or other donation-related medical procedures. The new rule would add lost wages and child-care and elder-care expenses for primary caregivers to the list of reimbursable expenses. In our comment letter, we expressed support for this proposed change. We believe this is an important step in removing financial hurdles that can make it difficult for some individuals to be living organ donors.

HHS and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) published a proposed rule that would make revisions to the outcome measure requirements for Organ Procurement Organizations (OPOs). OPOs are nonprofit organizations responsible for the evaluation and procurement of organs for transplantation from deceased donors. CMS is proposing to replace the current OPO outcome measures with new donation and transplantation rate measures that are more transparent, reliable and objective. CMS also wants to implement a new performance benchmark for OPOs and make changes to the outcome measure assessment and recertification process. In our comment letter, we voice support for these proposals with some minor technical modifications. We believe these are important steps that will help make more organs available for transplant, thereby increasing the number of people receiving a kidney transplant.

AKF applauds HHS and its agencies on their continued efforts to prevent, detect, and slow the progression of kidney disease; provide patients with kidney disease with more options for treatment; and deliver more organs for transplant. We look forward to our continued engagement on these efforts and to help provide the patient perspective.

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About the Author

Mike Ly

Mike Ly is Director Of Public Policy at the American Kidney Fund

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