The CMS has issued a final rule that will set stricter hospital conditions of participation for transplant centers. The rule will move Medicare-covered transplant programs toward an outcome-focused system that reflects the clinical experience, resources and commitment of the transplant program, the agency said in a written statement.
It will also seek to ensure better oversight of transplant centers by advancing coordination between the CMS, the Health Resources and Services Administration, the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network, the Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients, and state survey agencies.
This rule seems to reflect a much stronger commitment by the executive branch to improving and ensuring accountability of the organ-transplant system, said Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee. I hope these new standards will give Medicare beneficiaries greater peace of mind, result in improved transplant care and, ultimately, save lives.
Grassley began scrutinizing federal oversight of the transplant system in the fall of 2005, following violations of organ procurement policies and other problems at several medical centers in California. Grassley in 2006 had asked the Government Accountability Office to look into the effectiveness of organ-procurement programs, but the report has yet to be completed. -- by Jennifer Lubell