Bipartisan Senators Assert Congressional Intent In Implementation Of Their Organ Transplant Reform Law

June 17, 2024 4:50 am

U.S. transplant system is undergoing its first reforms in 40 years

WASHINGTON – Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), former and current chairmen, respectively, of the Senate Finance Committee, are leading a bipartisan push to ensure proper implementation of their law to break up anti-competitive practices in the U.S. organ transplant system. Grassley and Wyden, co-authors of the Securing the U.S. Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network Act, are joined by the law’s original cosponsors, Sens. Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Todd Young (R-Ind.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Jerry Moran (R-Kan.). 

In a letter to Dianne LaPointe Rudow, President of the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN) Board of Directors, the senators reiterated Congress’s legislative intent to ensure the OPTN carries out the law’s necessary reforms. The lawmakers specifically noted:

  1. The OPTN and its Board of Directors must be managed by separate contractors. Previously, both were led by the same contractor – giving a single entity total control over all operations and decision-making in the U.S. organ transplant system. 
  2. The Health and Human Services Department (HHS) maintains jurisdiction over the OPTN Board. Crucially, this provides HHS authority to conduct oversight of the OPTN and its functions, in addition to Congress’s ongoing oversight responsibilities.

Read the full letter HERE


The OPTN, which is responsible for collecting organs from donors and matching donations to patients nationwide, has been run by the same inadequate contractor since its founding 40 years ago. Grassley and Wyden’s Securing the OPTN Network Act requires HHS’s Health Resources and Services Administration to expand OPTN’s contracting process for the first time in its existence, in order to ensure only the most competent contractors operate the organ transplant system.

Grassley and Wyden also wrote to HRSA last month to share their recommendations on the law’s implementation.