Liver Acquisition Costs Could More Than Double with Proposed Redistricts

Posted June 11, 2015 in News Category
case-179retouchedA clinical coordinator from Mid-America Transplant Services prepares paperwork to transport an organ to a patient waiting for a lifesaving transplant.

MTS President and CEO Dean F. Kappel was the lead author with nine transplant experts on a letter to the editor published in the American Journal of Transplantation this month. The letter is a response to proposed liver allocation changes by the Organ Procurement and Transplant Network (OPTN) liver committee. The co-authors’ goal was to increase the understanding of the financial impact of the proposal on organ procurement organizations (OPO) and transplant centers.  

The letter is an effort to be part of this important, ongoing conversation to ensure as many lives as possible are saved through organ donation. The OPTN proposal aims to create a national system in which the sickest patients receive a transplant first, regardless of location. It is in response to the variances in time waiting for a lifesaving liver transplant in different regions of the country. The current model benefits the sickest patients as well, however, patients at transplant centers in the same region as the donation are given priority.

The proposal suggests the costs associated with this change that are charged to the transplant center will be offset by pre-transplant care. However, Kappel and the co-signees analyzed five OPOs and found the charges to the transplant center could more than double under the proposed allocation model. This additional cost could eventually impact the transplant patient. The difference is believed to be because of a misunderstanding about how costs are allocated on an OPO’s cost report. The co-authors recognize some savings will be realized in pre-transplant costs, and “there will be financial winners and losers,” the manuscript says. In each scenario outlined by the co-authors, costs to OPOs increased between 43 percent and 208 percent.

Ultimately, the problem to which MTS is committed to finding a solution is the shortage of viable organs for transplant.  MTS is always looking for new, innovative ways to increase the number of transplants available to save more lives. Joining this conversation is part of the process in finding a solution.

About Dean F. Kappel
Kappel is the innovative leader of St. Louis-based Mid-America Transplant Services (MTS), where he was hired in 1986. His passion is for saving lives through organ and tissue donation, and throughout his career he has focused on implementing quality initiatives and best practices to increase the number of people able to receive lifesaving transplants.


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