AOPO Members Meet in Washington, D.C. to Address Increasing Organ Donation and Transplantation in the U.S.

The Association of Organ Procurement Organizations (AOPO) hosted our annual Directors Workshop of OPO member leaders in Washington, DC, this week to address increasing organ donation and transplantation in the United States. The discussion focused on sharing strategies that are driving OPO improvement and leading to more lives saved. The participants also met with members of Congress to help educate them about the organ donation process and received an update regarding the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) national kidney learning collaborative which will kick off in the new year.

AOPO Plays Important Role in CMS Effort to Address Kidney Shortage

AOPO has been named by CMS to the End Stage Renal Disease Treatment Choices Learning Collaborative (ETCLC) Leadership Coordinating Council (LCC). This effort, led by CMS and the Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA), focuses on addressing kidney disease prevention and treatment, including improved access to kidney transplants in the United States.

As part of the LCC, AOPO is ensuring the lessons learned, best practices identified, and results of the ETCLC are shared and recommended for implementation throughout the OPO community.  In addition, Lisa Stocks, AOPO’s President-Elect and Executive Director, LifeSharing, has been named a co-chair of the national faculty and is joined on the faculty by AOPO Executive Committee members Rick Hasz, Vice President of Clinical Services, Gift of Life Donor Program, and Colleen McCarthy, Vice President for Organ and Tissue Donation, Versiti. The faculty members are providing subject matter expertise on behalf of OPOs. I hope you will thank them for their leadership and service.

AOPO’s 50K Organ Transplants Annually by 2026 Campaign Contributes to Learning Collaborative Goals

Our role in the learning collaborative shows the importance of AOPO leadership and OPOs’ input, which is leading to improvement in the way we facilitate the recovery and transplantation of kidneys in this country. AOPO has already begun to move the needle forward on this effort through its 50K Organ Transplants Annually by 2026 Campaign. One of the goals of our campaign is to increase the number of kidneys recovered by OPOs and maximize organ utilization by transplant centers to save more patient lives on the waiting list.

Aims of the Learning Collaborative

With AOPO’s support, the ETCLC will engage transplant centers, OPOs, large donor hospitals, patients, and donor family members to identify highly effective practices currently in use and establish a knowledge sharing process to spread these practices throughout the organ procurement, kidney care, and kidney transplant community to achieve the following three aims:

  • AIM #1 Increase the number of deceased donor kidneys transplanted by 15%
  • AIM #2 Decrease the current national discard rate of all procured kidneys by 5%
  • AIM #3 Increase kidneys recovered and utilized from medically complex donors by 14%

Supported by coaches, national faculty, and professional and patient advocacy groups, the ETCLC plans to enroll 80% of transplant centers and OPOs plus the two largest donor hospitals in each OPO’s donor service area into 25 Quality Improvement Teams. These teams will participate, collaborate, and change practices to meet the ETCLC aims. Information will also be shared through the End State Renal Disease Networks and more than 20 professional and patient advocacy organizations, including AOPO, which have committed to support the ETCLC.

So far, there has been an extraordinary turnout by OPOs and more than 90% have already joined the learning collaborative. The ETCLC recognizes that OPOs are one piece of a larger system and true success comes from donor families, hospitals, OPOs, and transplant programs working together toward these common goals. Through this effort and our 50K campaign, we will save more lives.

Have a safe and Happy Thanksgiving.

Steve Miller, MBA, CAE

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