LifeCenter Northwest Supports the American Kidney Health Initiative

July 15, 2019

A statement from Kevin O’Connor, President and CEO, LifeCenter Northwest

On Wednesday, July 10, President Trump signed an Executive Order to modernize the US health care system for patients with chronic kidney disease.

I was one of several Organ Procurement Organization (OPO) leaders invited to attend the briefing in Washington D.C., along with more than two hundred other health care leaders from the organ donation, transplantation, kidney research, and dialysis communities, and a number of kidney transplant recipients. The support for this initiative was palpable and enthusiastic.

As the OPO serving Alaska, Montana, North Idaho, and Washington, we applaud any and all efforts to increase kidney transplantation, which is a core element of our mission of “working together to save lives”.

While the specific details of this initiative have not been finalized, we fully support the intent, and greatly appreciate the efforts of the Department of Health and Human Services to substantially improve the way we care for people with chronic kidney disease.

Currently, there are about 95,000 people on the kidney transplant waiting list. One of the overarching goals of this initiative is to double the number of kidney transplants per year by 2030 through substantial increases in both deceased and living donor kidney transplantation. This is a goal which we strongly embrace.

OPO leaders from Kansas, Massachusetts, Washington D.C., Washington state (Kevin O’Connor), Georgia, Tennessee, and Nevada before the Executive Order signing on Wednesday July 10.

Over the past five years, LifeCenter Northwest has maintained the highest rate of kidneys transplanted per donor of any OPO in the US.  Nevertheless, we know we can do better. Working together with generous donors and their families, hospitals throughout our service area, and our kidney transplant programs in Seattle and Spokane, I am confident we will continue to increase the supply of kidneys. This will enable more and more patients with end stage kidney disease to receive the transplant they need and deserve.

Additionally, we welcome any performance metrics and regulatory changes that will improve the ability to recover and deliver organs and result in better care for the millions of people with kidney disease in the US. We look forward to contributing to this noble cause by continuing to increase kidney transplantation in our service area, and throughout the nation.