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NEW YORK, NY (June 4, 2010) — Transplant surgeon Dr. Francis L. Delmonico and non-directed kidney donor Bill Singleton were named the first co-Chairs of the END THE WAIT! Executive Committee, the National Kidney Foundation (NKF) announced today. NKF launched the END THE WAIT! initiative at the start of 2009 to address the urgent need to increase the number of organs available for transplantation in the United States.
“The END THE WAIT! initiative is a virtual call-to-arms that the current system of organ donation and transplantation is not sustainable to fulfill the needs of our patients. In collaboration with other major organizations in the kidney care, donation and transplant communities, we are leading this charge to address the inconsistent practices across the United States that are no longer acceptable," says John Davis, National Kidney Foundation CEO.
“We know that Dr. Delmonico's vast professional experience as one of the nation's preeminent transplant experts and Mr. Singleton's personal experience as a living donor will help provide the knowledge and perspective needed to move our ambitious agenda forward and implement our END THE WAIT! recommendations.”
END THE WAIT! recommendations focus on improving the donation process, eliminating barriers to donation, instituting best practices and increasing living and deceased donation. "The recently-passed Healthcare Reform Bill prohibits insurance companies from denying medical coverage to those with pre-existing conditions. In the past, living kidney donors had been viewed as having a pre-existing medical condition by some insurance companies and denied medical coverage. Certainly, such practices constitute barriers to donation and eliminating that was one of the END THE WAIT! recommendations," continues Davis.
“We will continue to fight for patients to receive comparable care from one region of the country to another, for example by maximizing programs such as paired kidney donation that are not currently accessible to all patients,” says Dr. Delmonico, transplant surgeon at Massachusetts General Hospital and Professor of Surgery at Harvard Medical School. “Others priorities will focus on removing disincentives to living donation, including covering all donation-related expenses.”
“The list of Americans now waiting for organs continues to increase each day,” says Singleton, a long-time NKF volunteer and former board member who became a kidney donor in December 2009 as part of the largest kidney exchange in the world to date. “I'm committed to helping other potential donors learn more about the process. I know we can help educate people and remove barriers through END THE WAIT!”
The National Kidney Foundation, Inc. (NKF) is the major voluntary health organization dedicated to preventing kidney disease, improving the health and well-being of individuals and families affected by kidney disease and increasing the availability of all organs for transplantation. For more information visit kidney.org/endthewait.