December 19,2019

Senators Request Comprehensive Study of National Organ Donor System

Washington – Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Sen. Todd Young, a member of the Committee, wrote to Health and Human Services Acting Inspector General (HHS OIG) Joanne Chiedi requesting a comprehensive examination of the adequacy of the organ procurement and transplantation system in the United States.
“President Trump’s historic executive order will transform the nation’s organ procurement and transplant system. I’m confident that the proposed rule being developed by Secretary Azar as the result of President Trump’s directive will save thousands of American lives. But there’s also no question that more can be done right now to improve a system that is mired by inefficiency, waste and a serious lack of accountability.” Grassley said.
“Because our organ donation system is so complex, most people don’t know how it works, or if patients are being protected. This is why we are taking a look behind the curtain of a system that so many lives depend on. My friend, Marine Dave ‘Gunny’ McFarland from Jeffersonville, Indiana, died because his heart transplant never came. That is unacceptable. I won’t stop working on this issue until we increase the availability of organs for patients in need, and eliminate the inefficiencies occurring in our organ donation system,” Young said.
The senators are seeking information about the extent of HHS OIG oversight of OPOs and other information regarding previous relevant investigations.
The letter from Grassley and Young can be found HERE.

Grassley, Young and a bipartisan group of senators wrote to HHS earlier this year demanding answers to a recent change in the national liver distribution policy made by the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN). Under the new policy, transplant hospitals in areas with rural and low-income populations could see patients waiting longer for a liver match and losing livers donated in their state.