TOPEKA – (August 24, 2018) – Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt this week joined the attorneys general of Georgia, Hawaii and Wisconsin in demanding that U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar rescind a recent directive that would have the effect of restricting access to liver transplants performed at the University of Kansas Medical Center and in other areas throughout the country.
The attorneys general believe the HHS directive will unfairly weight access to liver transplant services toward programs in the northeast and west coast and will diminish access to transplant services among rural, underserved and socioeconomically challenged areas of the country by directing organs donated in those areas to the more populous regions of the country.
The bipartisan letter, led by Kansas, specifically asks the Secretary of Health and Human Services to rescind a policy directive, announced in July, in which HHS disregarded the years-long work of a body authorized to recommend the policy for distributing donated organs. The HHS letter directed that a revised December 2017 organ-distribution policy, adopted after years of study and compromise, be replaced with a policy that favors organ recipients living in coastal areas of the country over those living in less-populous parts of the country.
“[T]his directive will diminish patient access to liver transplant services for our citizens solely for the purpose of benefiting transplant programs in the Northeast and the West Coast,” the attorneys general wrote. “We will defend the interests of our citizens to preserve patient access to liver transplantation services by using all available tools at our disposal.”
A copy of the letter is available at https://bit.ly/2wm9pIt.