Senators Uncover Loophole for OPOs Exploiting Pancreas Research

US Capitol© Gagan Cambow / Pexels / Canva

Senate Finance Committee Chair Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), and Senate Finance Committee members Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), and Todd Young (R-Ind.), this week announced a new effort raising concerns about organ procurement organizations (OPOs) exploiting a loophole to falsely inflate their performance after the number of pancreata procured doubled in 2021.

“We are concerned some OPOs may be reporting pancreas procurements that are not, in fact, meeting the standard of bona fide research consistent with regulation and statute,” the senators wrote. “Based on communications we have received, we are concerned that many of these pancreata may not have been recovered for legitimate research purposes. This trend raises serious questions about OPO practice regarding procurement of pancreata for transplant in light of the CMS performance metrics.”

The letters, sent to 10 OPOs across the country, request data on the number of pancreata recovered and what purpose they were used for, transplantation or research. The request comes after receiving communications indicating that OPO employees are actively discussing how to exploit new regulations from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to increase their performance metrics.

The letter was sent to the following OPOs: One Legacy, Donor Alliance, LifeQuest Organ Recovery Services, Indiana Donor Network, Kentucky Organ Donor Affiliates, Mid-America Transplant, New Jersey Organ and Tissue Sharing Network, LifeBanc, Lifeline of Ohio, and Texas Organ Sharing Alliance.

The letter can be found here.

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