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MTS Begins Operations at Missouri State Licensing Office

Posted July 24, 2012 in News Category
maplewood-officeMolly Maher (left), MTS Director of Finance, and Carisa Ervin-Murphy, license office manager, are coordinating the operation of the Maplewood License Office, which re-opened July 5.

After a month of planning, MTS is officially operating the state licensing office in Maplewood, MO. As the first organ procurement organization in the country to run a local DMV office, we have a unique opportunity to not only enhance customer service, but also to identify new ways in which we can encourage people to learn about organ and tissue donation and sign up on a donor registry.

At first glance, some may wonder why MTS pursued this state contract. The answer is simple — there’s a direct connection with our own goal to enhance organ and tissue donation consent rates.

All state license offices are mandated to ask if those coming in for a new or renewal license would like to sign up on a state organ and tissue donor registry.  Our data shows that families of loved ones who are on the registry are much more likely to consent to organ and tissue donation versus those families whose loved ones are not on the list.

We believe that there are multiple opportunities for us to inform visitors of the license office about the benefits of organ and tissue donation. In addition, we want to learn why people choose not to enroll in the donor registry and then develop best practice guidelines that will improve the registry enrollment rates. Those guidelines could then be shared with other license offices around the state and perhaps, the country.

In looking at just the past two years, the difference in MTS consent rates of those listed on the donor registry versus those not on the registry is significant:

Organ Donation Consent Rates:

 

NOT on Registry

Listed on Registry *

2010

78% consent rate

95% consent rate

2011

82% consent rate

98% consent rate

 

Tissue Donation Consent Rates: 

 

NOT on Registry

Listed on Registry *

2010

31% consent rate

74% consent rate

2011

24% consent rate

66% consent rate

*Includes First Person Authorization and Intent Registry Enrollments

imgp1672loresHeart recipient Larry Bonds, left, thanks a license office worker for asking customers to join the organ and tissue donor registry.

Grassroots Community Outreach

If we want to increase organ and tissue donation consent rates, we believe strongly that we need to impact the number of people who sign up on the donor registry. It makes sense to start where the majority of people are first approached about the registry — inside a DMV office.  The MTS Maplewood office is currently performing above the state average for registry enrollment at 48%; however, our research has shown that five DMV offices in St. Louis are located in zip codes where donor registry rates are lower than elsewhere around the state. We will utilize the Maplewood office as a testing ground for various methods to increase registry enrollment and then apply the best practices learned to the five DMV offices in the low performing areas.  For more information on the St. Louis City initiative, read about the Badge of Honor campaign.

First Things First

We’ll first focus on the primary reason people visit the license office, which is to obtain services. To expedite the process, we have retained the original five-member staff and plan to almost double that number in the coming weeks. As an added convenience to visitors, we have extended office hours every weekday and on every Saturday morning. We are upgrading equipment, renovating the interior to make it more inviting, and will implement a new wait system, including a more rapid line ticket system. We also may test an appointment-based system specifically for license plate tags.

As these changes are made and visitors experience a more positive environment, MTS will be creating new, informative posters and other materials that focus on organ and tissue donation. We also will be conducting extensive staff training on the way they approach customers about the donor registry. Our research has found that when MTS trained staff approach families about organ or tissue donation, our success rates are higher than if an untrained person first talks with the family. We believe that our successful track record in consent rates could translate into a successful track record for donor registry requests.

In the innovative step of running a DMV office, we are trying to impact decision-making before a family is in crisis. We believe then, that by taking on this new venture, we can save lives through excellence in organ and tissue donation by starting the conversation earlier.

We’d be interested in your thoughts about our journey.  Please leave your comments in the section below, or email us at info@mts-stl.org.



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