The Senate Appropriations Labor-Health and Human Services (HHS) Subcommittee released a proposed Federal FY 2020 appropriations bill last week that unfortunately included language requiring the Health Resources and Services Administration to submit a report on the effects of the liver reforms that were approved by the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN) in December. The bill language also expresses disappointment that OPTN is committed to implementing the new model in good faith. The reforms haven’t been fully implemented yet due to ongoing litigation. The complete bill language can be found here. While the Subcommittee was ready to consider this proposal, it was postponed until further notice.
GNYHA strongly supports OPTN’s recent reforms, and we believe any study of their effects will cast a positive light on OPTN’s decision. However, we believe the language included in the Labor-HHS appropriations bill will be used to stifle implementation, and should therefore be removed. We are in contact with our allies on the Subcommittee, and full committee Ranking Member Patrick Leahy (D-VT) to remove the language. We are also in contact with House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Nita Lowey (D-NY) and Senate Minority Leader Schumer to prepare for a situation in which the language survives the full committee markup.
Ensuring that the nation’s liver allocation policies are equitable is a top GNYHA priority, and we will continue to fight on every front to ensure the implementation of OPTN reforms. We will keep our members apprised of relevant developments.