Reps. Krishnamoorthi, Cloud, Maloney, Comer, and Porter Issue Bipartisan Statement on Rule to Improve Organ Procurement
Washington, D.C. (Apr. 9, 2021)—Today, Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy Chairman Raja Krishnamoorthi and Subcommittee Ranking Member Michael Cloud, joined by Committee on Oversight and Reform Chairwoman Carolyn B. Maloney, Ranking Member James Comer, and Rep. Katie Porter, released the following statement after the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) finished its review and affirmed it would carry out a final rule to implement and enforce objective performance standards for Organ Procurement Organizations (OPOs):
“We applaud the Administration for heeding our call to finally implement this much-needed rule, which builds on the previous Administration’s efforts to bring accountability in this area, showing that real change can happen in Washington when there is organized bipartisan support. Congress entrusted OPOs with the central role of securing organs for transplant operations, and for years they’ve operated without meaningful oversight. Low internal standards and lax self-policing were not working, and far too many Americans died waiting for an organ transplant. This final rule, the product of sustained bipartisan work across administrations, will begin to change that broken system. The Oversight Committee will continue to do its part in continually improving the organ transplantation system with our ongoing oversight and investigations.”
On December 23, 2020, the Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy launched an investigation into the organ procurement industry with letters to 11 OPOs and the Association of Organ Procurement Organizations requesting documents about the performance, finances, operations, and potential conflicts of interest of OPOs.
On December 2, 2020, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), under the previous Administration, published a rule in the Federal Register to increase donation rates and organ transplantation rates by replacing the outcome measures for OPOs with new transparent, reliable, and objective outcome measures and increasing competition for open donation service areas.
In the first weeks of the new Administration, the CMS rule’s effective date was delayed from February 1, 2021, to March 30, 2021, in accordance with a government-wide regulatory freeze for review of rules published late in the previous Administration.
On March 16, 2021, a bipartisan, bicameral group of congressional leaders wrote to HHS in support of the final rule. The letter was signed by Reps. Maloney, Comer, Krishnamoorthi, Cloud, and Porter, as well as Senate Committee on Finance Chairman Ron Wyden, and former Chairman Chuck Grassley.
On March 30, 2021, the review period ended, and the final rule went into effect.