A new coalition that aims to reduce geographic disparities in wait times for donated organs launched May 20. The Coalition for Organ Distribution Equity (CODE) is working to reform the liver allocation process in the United States. The coalition includes one group from California, OneLegacy, and two from New York, LiveOn NY and the Greater New York Hospital Association. Both New York and California are among the states with the longest wait times for liver donations.

“We believe that no person should be allowed to die due to an accident of location,” added Dr. Lewis Teperman, the Chief of Transplant Surgery at NYU Langone Medical Center. “CODE is looking to make the system equal for all recipients waiting for organs. We hope that more lives will be saved and that geographic disparity will become a thing of the past.”

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CODE said they strongly support efforts by the Organ Procurement and Transplant Network (OPTN), under the authority of the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), to reform the methodology by which organs are distributed for transplant in the U.S. Last summer, the OPTN-designated United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) Liver and Intestinal Organ Transplantation Committee issued a concept paper that outlined new organ distribution models. CODE is calling for a data-driven approach to determining a new methodology that will reduce geographic disparities and save lives.

"While our region's donation rate is among the highest in the country, patients in our region can wait years longer and are far more likely to die while waiting than other areas,” said Tom Mone, CEO of OneLegacy, an organ procurement organization in the Los Angeles area. “The CODE effort is helping to ensure that our donation and transplant community can save more lives throughout the country.”

The UNOS Liver Committee is convening June 22 in Chicago to discuss its progress and welcome public comment. CODE members will participate in the meeting and report on recommendations and actions coming out of it.