Susan L. Smith, MN, PhD


March 28, 2003


The transplant community continues to grapple with the organ shortage, to find new and innovative ways to increase the organ donor pool. Since August 21, 1998, the Health Care Financing Administration of the Department of Health and Human Services has required as part of the Hospital Conditions of Participation in the Medicare reimbursement program that every hospital in the United States make a timely referral to their local OPO of individuals whose death is imminent. In addition, there have been numerous public-service campaigns focused on increasing organ donation. Yet, organ donation rates in the United States have changed little, despite a growing list of patients waiting for transplantation. But for those who do consent to donation, there is a well-designed infrastructure and organized process to facilitate optimal organ procurement and fair and equitable allocation.


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