Study Shows State Policies Have Little Impact on Organ Donation Shortfall

State policies have had little impact on closing the margin between supply and demand for organ donations, according to a study published this month in JAMA Internal Medicine.

first-person consent laws, donor registries, dedicated revenue streams for donor recruitment activities, population education programs, paid leave for donation, and tax incentives.

State policies have had little impact on closing the margin between supply and demand for organ donations, according to a study published this month in JAMA Internal Medicine. Researchers examined the effects of policies put in place between 1988 and 2010 in all 50 states. They were interested in 6 policies in particular:

With a US average death rate of 21 people per day on transplant lists and average wait times for organ donations ranging anywhere from 4 months to 5 years, the need to close the gap is becoming even more so pressing. In 1988 only 7 states had passed at least 1 donation-related policy, but by 2010 all states had passed at least 1.

The study found that state revenue streams to support recruitment activities such as community outreach, worksite campaigns, and efforts to educate physicians were the only methods that demonstrated meaningful gain, most notably a boost in donated organs by an increase of 15 transplants per year.

Experts suggest that the shortfall in organ donations may be the result of a lack in living organ donations as well as the high cost for the process. Making organ donations financially feasible for donors and families would help close the gap; however, experts suggest that incentives and pure monetary rewards may lead to the exploitation of the poorest population.

New policy designs are needed to increase donation rates and curtail the widening gap between organ supply and demand," the authors concluded.

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Read more at Kaiser Health News http://bit.ly/1e37jCJ