UNOS Proposes Dramatic Change in Liver Allocation System

The United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) is proposing a change to the liver allocation process from a local allocation system to a regional-based allocation system. The UW Health Transplant Program, as well as all of the other transplant programs in Wisconsin, joined with other transplant programs from other states to create a coalition to defeat this proposal.
The coalition, National Organ Transplant Allocation Coalition (NOTAC) believes that this proposal, if implemented, would drastically change current policies for the allocation of livers to the detriment of patients in many states across the nation, including those in Wisconsin. Because Wisconsin is located within the same region as large metropolitan areas (Chicago, Minneapolis) many of the organs from Wisconsin donors would be allocated to recipients in those areas, rather than serve patients in Wisconsin.

The UNOS Board of Directors is scheduled to vote on this proposal on June 24, 2009. If approved, this new system could be in place by September of 2009. The coalition believes that a decision on the regional allocation of livers is premature, at best, particularly without ample review by the new Administration. They also believe that if this proposal passes, proposals to change the allocation of other organs will follow quickly.

The coalition is working to get more people informed and educated about this proposal. They are working with government leaders and regional UNOS representatives to voice their concerns, and are working at a grassroots level to inform patients, donor families, support groups, transplant and donation professionals and the media.
People who would like to voice their concerns can send a letter to UNOS. More information about the policy is included in the letter template. The coalition needs your voice to join the hundreds of others who are worried about the patients in Wisconsin who are waiting for their gift of life.
When you draft your letter, feel free to select the pieces of this letter that reflect your opinion on this proposed policy change. Please include a sentence or two about your unique situation.
Response to the UNOS policy proposal is due by April 24, 2009. The OPTN/UNOS Board of Directors will then review the comments and vote on the proposals at its meeting on June 22-23, 2009, with implementations one month after Board approval.
The coalition was told that the volume of negative comments they receive is important. To that end, please share this information with your contacts, family, friends and anyone else who is concerned about donation rates and successful transplants for the people of Wisconsin.