Kidney Transplant Collaborative Applauds NASEM Report On Organ Transplantation
Report includes important recommendations to improve kidney transplant system
Washington, DC (June 2, 2022) The Kidney Transplant Collaborative (KTC) shared its support this week for a recently released report by the National Academies of Sciences Engineering and Medicine (NASEM) regarding organ transplantation in America. The NASEM report highlighted key characteristics of the U.S. organ transplant system through a data-driven approach and made important recommendations to improve a transplant system that too often does not meet the needs of patients.
The study released on February 25, 2022, was sponsored by the National Institute of Health (NIH) and broadly considered all organs, but included a particular focus on kidney transplantation and problems surrounding the current transplant process. The study also made recommendations for critically needed improvements to America’s transplantation system, including the Department for Health & Human Services (HHS) being held accountable for achieving equity in the organ transplantation system in the next five years, making it easier for transplant centers to accept organ offers, increasing transparency and accountability during the process, and improving system performance.
NASEM concluded that more donated organs need to be used to help patients in need of transplants. Currently, too many viable organs are not transplanted each year – including more than 20% of kidneys that are donated for transplant, but not used.
“The KTC applauds NASEM for their time and attention to the organ transplant community, and we specifically commend their important research and recommendations on the kidney transplant system,” noted Lou Diamond, KTC President and Chairman. “The more attention and awareness we bring to a system that is badly in need of improvement, the better. We look forward to using NASEM’s findings and recommendations to improve the kidney transplantation system.”
The study conducted a comprehensive review of scientific literature while also gathering significant public input, including from virtual public meetings and written comments from stakeholders. NASEM analyzed evidence from an overall system perspective, guided by the needs of patients. Goals of the study included examining the economic, ethical, policy, regulatory, and operational issues relevant to organ allocation decisions involving deceased donor organs. Among the topics analyzed, NASEM also highlighted common misperceptions about organ donation and transplantation.
A primary conclusion from the study is that the current organ transplant system is inequitable. Certain groups/demographics of patients receive organ transplants at a significantly lower rate and after longer waiting times than other patients with similar medical needs. Additionally, oversight of the organ transplantation system does not begin until individuals are waitlisted for a transplant. The committee recommended going upstream, and making the system accountable for engaging patients and providers more effectively at the points in time when patients face end-stage organ failure. For example, the system needs to more effectively address patient access to attaining a referral for transplant evaluation and placement on an appropriate waiting list.
“The findings from the NASEM study confirmed several of the KTC’s concerns. We need to make organ transplants more accessible to all patients and provide the education and tools needed for patients and their families – as well as donors – to increase access,” added Andrew Howard, M.D., FACP, nephrologist and member of the KTC Expert Advisory Panel.
In response to the NASEM study, the KTC offered several comments, which were presented in a letter to the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). The comment letter can be viewed on the KTC website by clicking here.
The Kidney Transplant Collaborative (KTC) is a 501(c)(4) nonprofit organization dedicated to increasing kidney transplants and decreasing financial obstacles and other challenges kidney patients, donors, and their families experience with the kidney transplant process.