Favor the Waiver

Help the Transplant Institute Continue to Save Lives

Let your voice be heard.
Help us continue to save lives.

Monday, June 25 is the final day to submit comments in favor of the waiver.  To add your voice, click here and state "I support Methodist Healthcare's waiver to affiliate with Tennessee Donor Services and maintain organ access for the Memphis region."

Nearly 8,000 patients have received life-saving transplants at the Methodist University Hospital Transplant Institute and Le Bonheur Children's Hospital to date, with a record number of transplants in 2011.  But that number could severely decrease in 2013 due to new organ access rules set to take effect at the end of this year. 

Currently, the Transplant Institute has access to a population of 7.5 million potential organ donors across Tennessee.  This number is drawn from two Organ Procurement Organizations (OPOs), one with a pool of 2 million donors, and one with a pool of 5.5 million donors.  The new rules would restrict Memphis’ access to a single OPO, decreasing our available organs to a pool of 2 million.  That’s almost 75% fewer organs available to patients in Memphis and the Mid-South.  The rest of Tennessee will benefit from Memphis’ loss of access, obtaining organs from the remaining pool of 5.5 million donors.   

What does this mean for patients in Memphis who need organ transplants?

  • Wait times for organs will increase dramatically.
  • Patients’ likelihood of death while waiting for an organ will also increase.
  • Minorities will be disproportionately affected.  Methodist’s transplant program reflects the diversity of our city, and the Transplant Institute serves many more minorities than any other program in Tennessee.

How You Can Help
Your support in preventing this change and helping us to continue saving lives is absolutely critical.  The Methodist Transplant Institute has applied for an OPO Waiver with the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to prevent the changes from taking effect at the end of this year.  The community’s voice is weighed heavily in CMS’ decision, so we need to flood CMS with letters of support for this waiver

Your comments do make a difference.  You can make your voice heard in one of two ways:

Participate in the Online Comment Process
Add a comment in support of Methodist's waiver at Regulations.gov.

Send a Letter to CMS
Support Methodist's OPO Waiver by sending a letter to CMS at the address below. 

Jonathan Blum, Deputy Administrator
Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
Department of Health and Human Services
Attention CMS-1444-NC
PO Box 8010
Baltimore, MD 21244-1850

Please share your comments as soon as possible—you only have until June 25, 2012 to submit your comments to CMS. Please only participate through one channel, as only one comment per person is allowed.  Encourage your friends and family to add their voices of support as well. 

You'll find sample letters and comments here.