Since the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN) voted to revise the nation’s liver allocation policy last year, GNYHA and our allies have countered a determined opposition seeking to stifle implementation of these reforms and uphold the nation’s current unjust liver allocation policy. The opposition’s efforts included circulating a misguided letter signed by 22 Senators opposing OPTN’s reforms and requesting information from the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) on the approval process.

In response, Representatives Eliot Engel (D-NY) and Doug LaMalfa (R-CA), at GNYHA’s request, circulated a powerful “Dear Colleague” letter addressed to HHS in support of OPTN’s approved reforms. GNYHA worked diligently with our allies to gain support for this letter, which closed with 81 signatures—a significant accomplishment considering the small number of states on New York’s side in the battle for equitable liver allocation. We are pleased that all 27 Representatives of the New York delegation signed the letter, which GNYHA hopes will dissuade HHS from meddling in the implementation of OPTN’s reforms, which are scheduled to go into effect on May 1.

GNYHA is grateful to the allies that assisted us with the Engel-LaMalfa letter, including the National Coalition for Transplant Equity (a nationwide, GNYHA-created coalition dedicated to reforming the organ distribution process), the California Hospital Association, and the Healthcare Association of New York State. We will continue to advocate vigorously to ensure that OPTN’s reforms are implemented in good faith, and we are prepared to use legal, regulatory, and legislative means to do so.

GNYHA’s position paper on the vital need to reform the nation’s liver allocation system can be found here.