Congresswoman’s request comes in response to President Trump executive order to improve the nation’s transplant system
WASHINGTON – Congresswoman Katie Porter (CA-45) today called on the Trump Administration to conduct appropriate and necessary oversight for organ procurement organizations (OPOs), which are responsible for evaluating and securing organs from those who have decided to donate their organs. This request comes as a response to President Trump’s executive order signed in July of this year to improve the nation’s transplant system.
As the Administration invests in this initiative, Porter urged the Department of Health and Human Services to address chronic underperformance and financial mismanagement at OPOs by adjusting regulations, reporting requirements, and performance metrics. The OPO OneLegacy, which serves Orange County, is one of the worst performing in the country. A 2010 audit found that OneLegacy spent more than $500,000 on “unallowable or poorly documented items,” including $327,000 on the Rose Bowl game and parade.
“It is unacceptable that Orange County residents are losing their lives because of financial mismanagement, and that those who have chosen to give the gift of an organ upon passing are being disrespected,” Congresswoman Porter said. “I am heartened to see the Trump Administration prioritize fixes to the nation’s transplant system, and I hope to see an Administration finally conduct the necessary oversight to hold organ procurement organizations accountable. We’ve got to remember that for many Americans, this is literally a matter of life and death.”
The United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) found that, as of today, there were 113,016 people in the United States on the waitlist for an organ transplant, but only 26,448 organs were provided by 12,740 donors in the first eight months of 2019. Approximately 70 percent of those remaining on the waitlist will not receive the transplants they need in 2019, and approximately 33 people die every day while waiting for a critical transplant or are removed from the waiting list after being deemed too sick to receive a transplant.
OPOs are responsible for evaluating and securing organs from those who have registered to donate their organs. Unfortunately, as the Congresswoman’s letter documents, “reports suggest that thousands of usable organs are not reaching patients in need and that many OPOs… engage in mismanagement and misuse of public funds, with little, if any, accountability.”
The Congresswoman has made oversight of the healthcare industry a top priority. Earlier this month, she sent a letter with Rep. Bobby Rush (IL-1) regarding concerns that low-income patients are being driven into dialysis treatment. In July, she sent a request sent to the Department of Health and Human Services watchdog to investigate dialysis industry practices that put patients’ lives at risk and increase the cost of care for taxpayers.