Nearly 500 people participated, either in person or via webinar, in a public forum held Sept. 16 to discuss concepts related to liver distribution equity. The forum featured nearly 20 presentations and provided participants multiple opportunities to share their perspectives through question-and-answer sessions and responses to real-time polling. You can find additional information and resources related to the forum on the OPTN website.
The vast majority of participants agreed the OPTN should seek to ensure that candidates have timely access to liver transplantation. Opinions varied on the best metrics and methods to use in identifying and reducing geographic disparities, as well as the potential effects such efforts may have for transplant institutions in areas such as clinical practice, logistics and costs. Another theme commonly expressed was a need to optimize organ donation and utilization of available organs.
The Liver and Intestinal Organ Transplantation Committee met Sept. 17 to discuss the feedback from the forum, as well as the responses to the questionnaire distributed in June along with the concept document. The committee agreed that additional study and feedback is necessary to continue to evaluate the issues identified. It resolved to establish work groups, each composed partly of committee members and partly of additional subject matter experts, to address key focus areas including the following:
- Metrics to assess geographic disparity
- Logistical/transportation considerations
- Financial issues
- Methods to optimize liver utilization
These work groups will develop recommendations over the next several months to share with the full committee, to help refine existing concepts or develop of new ones. No timetable has been established for a policy proposal resulting from these discussions. Any policy proposal, once developed, will offer all interested parties an opportunity for additional public comment.
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