Newswise — (NEW YORK - May 22) - The Mount Sinai Health System today announced its support for, and membership in, the Coalition for Organ Distribution Equity (CODE). Launching this week, the new coalition has the mission of reducing geographic disparities in wait times for donated organs, and in severity of patient illness at the time of transplant. These disparities are responsible for many avoidable deaths every year. CODE strongly supports efforts by the Organ Procurement and Transplant Network (OPTN), under the authority of the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), to reform the methodology by which organs are distributed for transplant in the U.S. Last summer, a committee of the OPTN-designated United Network for Organ Sharing outlined new organ distribution models. CODE is calling for a data-driven approach to determining a new methodology that will reduce geographic disparities and save lives. "Geographic disparity in liver allocation continues to be the source of major inequities among patients awaiting life-saving liver transplants," said Sander S. Florman, Director of The Recanati/Miller Transplantation Institute at The Mount Sinai Hospital. "We hope the CODE initiative will bring greater attention to this issue and convince the Secretary of Health and Human Services to address the 1999 Institute of Medicine declaration that allocation of organs should not be an accident of geography. Where you live should not determine whether you live or die, as it does under the current system." The demand for transplantable organs in the United States has long outpaced the supply. Right now, more than 16,000 Americans are waiting for liver transplants. “In some parts of the country, people wait far longer and are much more ill when they receive organs than those in other parts of the country,” said Kenneth L. Davis, MD, President and CEO of the Mount Sinai Health System. “Consequently, hundreds of Americans needlessly die every year waiting for organs. By decreasing the number of regions used to determine organ allocation, discrepancies in wait times can be reduced and lives can be saved.” The UNOS Liver Committee is convening on June 22 in Chicago to discuss its progress and welcome public comment. CODE members will participate in the meeting and report on recommendations and actions coming out of it. About the Mount Sinai Health System The Mount Sinai Health System is an integrated health system committed to providing distinguished care, conducting transformative research, and advancing biomedical education. Structured around seven member hospital campuses and a single medical school, the Health System has an extensive ambulatory network and a range of inpatient and outpatient services—from community-based facilities to tertiary and quaternary care. The System includes approximately 6,600 primary and specialty care physicians, 12-minority-owned free-standing ambulatory surgery centers, over 45 ambulatory practices throughout the five boroughs of New York City, Westchester, and Long Island, as well as 31 affiliated community health centers. Physicians are affiliated with the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, which is ranked among the top 20 medical schools both in National Institutes of Health funding and by U.S. News & World Report.
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