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 March 25, 2023

Biden administration orders overhaul of nation's organ transplant system

According to the federal Health Resources and Services Administration, the country's organ transplant system will soon see massive changes.

The Washington Examiner reported that the governing body's plan "includes breaking up the organ transplant monopoly led by the United Network for Organ Sharing," adding that the network has handled transplants for the past nearly four decades, despite ongoing criticism.

"This system and the statute that governs it are almost 40 years old," said HRSA administrator Carole Johnson, according to the New York Times.

She added: "Technologies improved. Government processes about transparency have improved. And so the time was ripe for us to do this."

"What’s so critical to us is ensuring we are doing everything possible to improve the system that patients and families depend on," she continued.

Surprisingly, the United States Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) celebrated the anticipated upcoming changes.

"[UNOS] supports HRSA’s plan to introduce additional reforms into the nation’s organ donation and transplantation system," a statement from the network to the Washington Post read. "We believe we have the experience and expertise required to best serve the nation’s patients and to help implement HRSA’s proposed initiatives."

The Examiner noted:

UNOS has faced tough criticism in the past due to long wait times on the transplant list, too many organs being discarded, damaged in transit or not collected, and faulty technology sometimes jeopardizing the transplants. Nearly 104,000 people are on waiting lists for organs, with the most sought-after organs being kidneys.

While the changes could be beneficial, some believe they could also wreak havoc on a vital system already described as "delicate" by Dr. Arthur Caplan, the director of the Division of Medical Ethics at the New York University Grossman School of Medicine.

"The whole transplant system is very delicate. It relies on trust and coordination," Caplan said. He added, "To reform it, you have to go slowly for fear that you would cause it to halt as it tries to adjust to new requirements."

It's unclear when the new system will begin the first stages of being implemented.

Written By:
Ryan Ledendecker

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