Senate Appropriations Committee Recommends a $2 Million Increase For Organ Donation Programs

Washington, DC (August 14, 2006) - The Transplant Roundtable announced last week that the Senate Appropriations Committee has recommended a $2 million increase for organ donation and transplantation activities supported by the Department of Health and Human Services in Fiscal Year 2007. The Senate Committee provided $25 million for the Health Resources and Services Administration’s (HRSA) Division of Transplantation. The $2 million increase over FY 2006 will be used to implement key provisions contained in the Organ Donation and Recovery Improvement Act of 2004 (Public Law 108-216), to increase the rate of organ donation.

The 13-member Transplant Roundtable, a coalition of patient organizations, professional medical societies and research foundations, joined forces in an effort to secure funding for the 2004 law. Roundtable members participated in joint meetings with congressional offices; hosted an advocacy day fly-in with volunteers in which 50 House and Senate offices were visited; and, sponsored a national advocacy call-in day to Senators.

“Congress enacted the Organ Donation and Recovery Improvement Act with strong bipartisan support,” said National Kidney Foundation CEO John Davis. “This same bipartisan support to fund the legislation is evident by the recent Senate action. Senate Majority Leader Frist (R-TN) and Senators Dorgan (D-ND), DeWine (R-OH), Specter (R-PA), Dodd (D-CT) and Durbin (D-IL) were all instrumental in this increase.”

A. Benedict Cosimi, MD of Massachusetts General Hospital, President of the American Society of Transplant Surgeons, stated, "We are very grateful to our Senate champions for securing these vital funds in such a difficult fiscal environment. We are confident the federal investment to increase organ donation will have a tremendous impact on people's lives."

Tracy Schmidt, President of Intermountain Donor Services in Salt Lake City, Utah and President of the Association of Organ Procurement Organizations said, "We are thrilled with the support of the Senate to fund the Organ Donation and Recovery Improvement Act. Implementation of the legislation honors the decisions of donors and donor families by supporting the best practice efforts that are included in the law. The end result will be lives saved through the gift of donation."

More than 92,000 Americans are awaiting organ transplantation. These funds would enable HHS to implement newly authorized programs designed to increase donation, as well as to continue support of existing, successful efforts.

The House Appropriations Committee recommends $23 million for the Division of Transplantation with no new funding for implementation of the Organ Donation Act. Final negotiations between the House and Senate are not expected until late this year.

The Transplant Roundtable is comprised of the following national organizations: American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases, American Association of Kidney Patients, American Association of Tissue Banks, American Liver Foundation, American Society of Pediatric Nephrology, American Society of Transplant Surgeons, American Society of Transplantation, Association of Organ Procurement Organizations, Eye Bank Association of America, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, NATCO - The Organization for Transplant Professionals, National Kidney Foundation, United Network for Organ Sharing.