On Aug. 3, the Senate Finance Committee held a hearing and released a
report entitled: “A System in Need of Repair: Addressing Organizational Failures in the U.S. Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network.” We appreciate the Finance Committee's interest in improving the organ donation and transplantation system to maximize the gift of life and save more lives on the transplant waiting list.
Texas Organ Sharing Alliance (TOSA), serving a majority-minority, Hispanic population, shares the Committee's goal of creating a more equitable and efficient system. In 2021, the nation marked the ninth-consecutive year of increases in the number of organs transplanted and we aim to continue this upward trend. To do so, organ procurement organizations (OPOs), donor hospitals, transplant centers, the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN), and federal agencies must collaborate to implement a cohesive and actionable plan for improvement.
As discussed by the Senate Finance Committee members and witnesses, the discard rate is trending upward this year. While TOSA has experienced an increase in organs transplanted annually over the past five years, we have experienced an increase in organs discarded. TOSA encourages a more robust system to trace the cause of every organ discard to better determine the reasons for organ declines by transplant centers and develop strategies to minimize organ waste and increase organ acceptance. To decrease the organ discard rate, all donation and transplant stakeholders must solve this issue for all patients on the waiting list.
TOSA strongly supports the recommendations outlined in the recent National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) report focused on establishing a more equitable system and encourages the Senate Finance Committee to align their recommendations with the proposals they have outlined. These recommendations are aligned with TOSA's annual goals of 300 organ donors and 1,000 lives saved, along with the Association of Organ Procurement Organizations (AOPO) shared goal of 50,000 organs transplanted annually by 2026. These goals can be achieved through expanded collaboration with stakeholders, reduced health inequities, increased organ utilization, as well as innovation and research.
We welcome changes that improve the current system,hold all stakeholders accountable, and always maintain a patient-centric focus. We appreciate the Committee's attention to this vital work and stand ready to work with Congress and the Administration to pursue the day when every donation opportunity results in lives saved.