Major Organ Transplant Centers Announce New Coalition

January 14, 2000

New York (MedscapeWire) Jan 14 - Fifteen of America's largest transplant centers, which together perform more than one sixth of all organ transplants in the United States, announced today that they have formed a new coalition to speak out on the critical issues facing patients at the start of the 21st century.

The new organization, named the Coalition of Major Transplant Centers (MTC), is made up of programs that perform a minimum of 150 kidney, pancreas, liver, heart, lung and intestine transplants each year. Member centers, which include 4 of the 8 largest transplant programs in the country, provided transplants for more than 3700 patients in 1998."We believe the most active transplant programs — which treat the greatest diversity of patients and have success records that are among the world's best — have a perspective that needs to be heard in debates over how transplantation and organ procurement can best serve the medical needs of growing numbers of patients," said Dr. Hans Sollinger of the University of Wisconsin at Madison.

"We also believe that most of the major transplant programs across our country have a similar perspective on the critical issues facing transplantation, but this perspective has been overshadowed by the loud voices of a couple of large centers with a different agenda," Dr. Sollinger said. "It is our intention to help the public, patients, and policy-makers understand the real consensus of the major transplant centers."

Approximately 40 of the more than 270 accredited transplant programs in the United States would be eligible for membership in the MTC. These major transplant centers performed more than 40% of the 21,000 organ transplants for US patients in 1998.

Founding members of the MTC are: University of Alabama at Birmingham; University of Wisconsin at Madison; Fairview - University Medical Center, Minneapolis; University of Michigan; Ohio State University; Washington University Transplant Surgery, St. Louis; St. Barnabas Health Care System, New Jersey; The Health Alliance of Greater Cincinnati and Children's Hospital; Medical University of South Carolina; University of Colorado; Clarian Transplant Center, Indianapolis; University of Tennessee, Memphis; Froedtert Memorial Lutheran Hospital, Milwaukee; Vanderbilt University; and University of Texas at Houston.

Dr. Ronald M. Ferguson of Ohio State University said the Coalition intends to be an active supporter of congressional efforts to reauthorize the National Organ Transplant Act (NOTA) during the coming session of Congress.

"A NOTA Reauthorization Bill (H.R. 2418) introduced during the last session by Rep. Michael Bilirakis (R-FL) is currently awaiting floor action in the House, and a NOTA Reauthorization effort is expected to begin in the Senate shortly after Congress reconvenes on January 24th," said Dr. Ferguson.

"We are most appreciative of the efforts of Rep. Bilirakis and House Commerce Committee Chairman Thomas Bliley (R-VA), and we are very hopeful that the Senate Subcommittee on Public Health, chaired by Sen. Bill Frist (R-TN), will move the NOTA Reauthorization process forward in the Senate," said Dr. Ferguson.

"The Coalition of Major Transplant Centers is most eager to work with Republicans and Democrats in both the House and Senate to ensure that transplantation provides the maximum benefit to the maximum number of patients in the decade ahead," said Dr. Wright Pinson of Vanderbilt. "We expect to be speaking out on a number of the key issues that will be addressed in NOTA Reauthorization legislation in the weeks ahead."

In addition to supporting NOTA Reauthorization, the MTC intends to offer perspectives of the nation's most active centers on a number of other issues of importance to transplant patients, including issues associated with cadaveric and living donations.

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