Advisory panel recommends overhaul for US transplant system

A scientific advisory panel said that the U.S. transplant system must be overhauled in the next five years, The Associated Press reported.

A report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine published on Friday detailed flaws that prevent the country from performing more life-saving transplants, according to the AP.

More than 41,000 organ transplants were performed last year in the U.S. — a record-breaking number, the AP noted. However, more than 106,000 patients are waiting for transplants, 17 of whom die each day before they are able to undergo surgery.

Many in need of a transplant are unable to get onto the waiting list, according to the report, which emphasized that racial minorities and people in certain geographical locales are less likely to be put on the list. Meanwhile, organs that are less than perfect frequently remain unused.

“While the transplant system does a lot of good things and saves a lot of lives, it is demonstrably inequitable and doesn’t work for enough people,” Dr. Kenneth Kizer, who chaired the panel, told the AP. “A lot of things can be done to make the system work better for more people.”

A particular issue, Kizer said, is that it is “too easy for transplant centers to decline usable organs,” the wire service reported.

The Biden administration announced Friday that it will consider the findings and recommendations of the panel as part of its renegotiation of the federal contract that is in place to run the transplant system, which was already scheduled.

“HHS intends to use the tools available to us to continue to enhance oversight and accountability with respect to the contractor that receives the award,” said a spokesman for the Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Health Resources and Services Administration in a statement, according to the AP.

Tags Engineering and Medicine National Academies of Sciences Organ transplants

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