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Biden administration plans revamp of organ transplant system
Mar 22

AP Medical Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Biden administration said Wednesday it will attempt to break up the network that runs the nation's organ transplant system as part of a broader modernization effort.

More people than ever are getting new organs, with a record 42,888 transplants last year - but that's not nearly enough to meet the demand. More than 100,000 patients are on the national transplant list, thousands die waiting and critics have long urged an overhaul to save more lives.

The United Network for Organ Sharing, or UNOS, is a nonprofit organization that has run the transplant system, under a government contract, for nearly four decades. That includes overseeing the groups that retrieve organs, helping set policies for how organs are distributed and patients are prioritized - and running the massive computer system that matches organs with patients.

Now the government aims to end that monopoly and divide those duties among more than one group. Exactly how that will work isn't clear. The Health Resources and Services Administration will issue bids for new contracts in the fall but wouldn't say how many.

However, a top focus is modernizing that organ-matching technology and improving accountability in the complex transplant system, including greater independence of the boards that set organ policies.

Patients will be better served "by ensuring there's competition in this process and that we're getting best-in-class" to handle the different transplant functions, HRSA Administrator Carole Johnson said in an interview.

Also Wednesday, HRSA took initial steps to translate some of the government's data on organ donation and transplantation into an easier-to-understand website for patients and families, data that can help them decide how to pursue care.

By The Associated Press, Copyright 2023

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