Statement from Kevin Longino, CEO of the National Kidney Foundation (NKF) and a transplant recipient, on the Senate’s unanimous passage of the U.S. Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN) Act
(July 28, 2023 – New York, NY) – “There are more than 800,000 Americans living with kidney failure, and more than 100,000 of them are on the transplant waiting list. Fourteen people will die each day before they get the lifesaving call that a kidney is available. Yesterday’s bipartisan and unanimous passage of the Securing the U.S. Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network Act is a sign of just how seriously lawmakers are taking the issue and a clear victory for patients. We’ve long said the transplantation system is in critical need of reform. This is the next step to finally beginning a much-needed modernization of how we secure, transport, and transplant lifesaving donated organs.
This initiative will strengthen accountability, transparency, equity, and performance in the organ donation and transplantation system. The new law will allow the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) to enable competition and strengthen accountability to reduce waste and improve patients’ access to the gold-standard therapy for kidney failure: transplantation. It will allow for innovation and new ways of thinking about improving the nation’s transplant system which has remained virtually unchanged for 40 years. It will allow new bidders with expertise in one, but not all, of the many important functions of the OPTN to bid, bringing fresh ideas and expertise. It will allow the nation to invest in the transplant system more appropriately, including modernizing the dated IT system it relies on currently. Finally, it will ensure accountability and good governance by having separate boards for the OPTN and any OPTN contractor(s).
NKF applauds both the Senate and House for their leadership and unanimous support on this issue. We’d especially like to thank Senators Ron Wyden, Chuck Grassley, Ben Cardin, Todd Young, and Bill Cassidy for introducing this legislation and moving it forward. We would also like to thank Representatives Larry Bucshon and Robin Kelly for sponsoring the, already passed, companion bill in the House. We look forward to President Biden signing this into law as soon as possible. We’d also like to thank all of the volunteers and patients for their continued advocacy for improving our organ donation system.
This is a good day for kidney patients.”
About Kidney Disease
In the United States, 37 million adults are estimated to have kidney disease, also known as chronic kidney disease—and approximately 90 percent don’t know they have it. About 1 in 3 American adults are at risk for chronic kidney disease. Risk factors for kidney disease include: diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, and family history. People of African American, Hispanic, American Indian, Asian, or Pacific Islander descent are at increased risk for developing the disease. African Americans are almost 4 times more likely than White Americans to have kidney failure. Hispanics are 1.3 times more likely than non-Hispanics to have kidney failure.
About National Kidney Foundation
The National Kidney Foundation (NKF) is the largest, most comprehensive, and longstanding patient-centric organization dedicated to the awareness, prevention, and treatment of kidney disease in the U.S. For more information about NKF, visit www.kidney.org.