On Wednesday, President Trump signed an executive order signaling new measures that could overhaul treatment for kidney disease, donations and kidney transplants.
As one of the premier transplant centers in the Southeast, UAB Hospital treats a high volume of patients with kidney disease, including patients on dialysis.
Chris Meeks, director of Legacy of Hope (formerly Alabama Organ Center) is available to provide additional comments on what this means for organ procurement.
Meeks outlines a few points from Trump's announcement:
1. Chronic kidney disease significantly impacts the people of Alabama which makes Legacy of Hope’s mission, to end the wait and suffering by shepherding the gift of life to those in needs of organ and tissue transplant, even more important.
2. Seventy percent of Alabama’s kidney transplant waiting list is African American. While the need is great in the African American community the authorization rate for donation is 43 percent, significantly lower than the Caucasian authorization rate of 70 percent. The donor registry rates in the African Community are lower as well. In an effort to more effectively educate the African American community, Legacy of Hope has a dedicated Multicultural Educator.
3. Legacy of Hope is working diligently to increase the number of organs available for transplant. As a result of our alliances with hospitals and the community, Legacy of Hope has provided more organs for transplant than ever before, 87 percent growth since 2012. There has been enormous growth in the number of organ donors, 68 percent since 2012.
4. Currently, 38 percent of licensed drivers are registered donors. The registry is growing by 9,000 citizens a month because of Legacy of Hope’s public education efforts and the generosity of the citizens of Alabama.
5. Legacy of Hope is supportive of aligning the organ procurement organization’s performance metrics with those of transplant hospitals. This will increase the number of organs available for transplant. Legacy of Hope also supports better metrics because organ donation has changed over time and the metrics should change too.