CMS Final Rule

As you know, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced the final rule in November which will change the way Organ Procurement Organizations (OPOs) are evaluated on their performance. As a community, we have many questions about various components of the rule and AOPO will be meeting with CMS this month to seek clarification. I wanted to share my thoughts with you and discuss how we, at AOPO, envision moving forward in this “new world.”

We Support Advancement

While over the last two years donation and transplantation has gone up 15 percent and the US system continues to be the best in the world, we recognize there is always room for improvement. The development of the new OPO metrics is just the beginning of efforts to improve the performance of the entire system. We look forward to working collaboratively with stakeholders to make the system better with one mission in mind, to save more lives through the gift of life.

Set the Bar High

Within the rule, CMS notes that with the implementation of the new metrics their goal is to improve from 33,000 transplants to 41,000 in 2026. The system is already on track to achieve this goal within the next two years and we believe we should set the bar higher.

Although belittled by some, we believe the collaborative spirit that pervades the OPO community will help drive system performance to new heights. Through our educational programs we will provide OPO’s with opportunities to learn successful practices from high performing peers. With the UNION Data Project, we will help OPOs sift through their data to identify opportunities for improvement. We will also look to drive overall system improvement in such areas as increasing organ utilization rates and decreasing the discard rate. This is an opportunity to identify areas of growth that will align our membership for success in the “new world.”

By OPOs working together to come to common ground, and by continuing to be part of the solution, we will move forward and help to ensure that our organ donation system continues to be the best in the world.

As always, I look for your feedback here and hope you will take the opportunity to engage with me. Together we are leading the way forward to save more lives. 

Steve Miller, AOPO CEO