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Over 14,700 waiting time modifications completed for Black kidney patients one year after policy implementation

Published on: Wednesday, May 8, 2024

A new data monitoring report evaluates key measures of a community-driven policy that was implemented on January 5, 2023. The Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN) Policy provided a pathway for waiting time modifications for Black kidney candidates registered on the kidney transplant waiting list who were previously affected by race-inclusive eGFR[1] calculations. As of January 4, 2024, the OPTN Contractor received attestations from all 230 active kidney programs confirming that they reviewed their list of candidates, sent the required notifications, and submitted all required waiting time modifications.

In the first year since the implementation:

  • 14,701 waiting time modifications were processed with a median (statistical midpoint) of 1.7 years of waiting time given to modified registrations
  • Approximately 50% of all modified registrations received between 1-3 years of waiting time[2]
  • 2,709 candidates with a waiting time modification received a deceased donor transplant and 158 received a living donor transplant

Note: These numbers are as of January 4, 2024. Additional waiting time modifications have been completed to date.

What are the policy’s ongoing requirements for kidney programs?

After January 3, 2024, all kidney transplant programs are required to:

  • Continue to notify all newly registered kidney candidates of the requirements of the transplant program according to OPTN Policy
  • Assess newly registered kidney candidates to determine eligibility
  • Submit completed waiting time modification requests to the OPTN Contractor for every candidate who should have qualified to accrue waiting time sooner

A sample notification letter is available in multiple languages on the OPTN website. Transplant programs may access them here.

Why we monitor data and what’s next

The report was presented to the OPTN Kidney Transplantation and the Minority Affairs Committees on April 15, 2024. The OPTN monitors donation and transplant policies to understand whether changes to the system are meeting the intended goals, and to determine if they are resulting in unintended consequences. The Kidney Transplantation and Minority Affairs Committees will continue to monitor these policies as data is submitted.

Find additional information, FAQs, and education on this policy in the toolkit on the OPTN website.

[1] The estimated glomerular filtration rate, or eGFR for short, measures how slowly or quickly kidneys remove a waste product called creatinine from the blood. This calculation helps doctors understand how sick a kidney patient is.

[2] Waiting time is the time a candidate earns after meeting specific requirements and is listed by a hospital for a transplant in the OPTN Computer System. It is one of many factors used to match organs to patients on the waiting list (patients on the waiting list are known as candidates). Having more waiting time may help a candidate get a transplant sooner.