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American Society of Transplantation Applauds Rep. Inslee for His Efforts to Pass the Charlie W. Norwood Living Organ Donation Act
Date:12/5/2007

H.R. 710 PASSED DECEMBER 4

WASHINGTON, Dec. 5 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- For over a year, Rep. Jay Inslee (D-WA) has worked tirelessly to ensure the passage of the Charlie W. Norwood Living Organ Donation Act (H.R. 710), which allows for paired kidney donations. Rep. Inslee and the late Rep. Charlie Norwood spearheaded a bipartisan effort to advance this important piece of legislation to increase the number of available kidney donations. On Dec. 4, the House of Representative passed H.R. 710 with the Senate's amendments pursuant to Res. 837 by a vote of 407 to 1. The American Society of Transplantation's (AST) Public Policy Committee worked closely with these legislators to build support for H.R. 710 and to keep the momentum going. Congressman Inslee thanked AST Public Policy member Connie Davis, MD, during his formal remarks on the floor during the evening's vote.

"Passage of this important legislation is a fitting tribute to Charlie's tireless efforts to improve our nation's heath-care system that will bring hope to the 70,000 Americans waiting for kidney transplants," said Inslee. "This won't, however, be the end of our work. I look forward to collaborating with my good friend and constituent Dr. Connie Davis, the American Society of Transplantation and others, as we push for enactment of this bill and tackle other challenges relating to organ donation and transplantation."

Through paired kidney donation, two or more sets of intended living donors and candidates are matched to find biologically compatible donors. Congress became involved in paired donations because many transplant centers refused to perform exchanges due to fears about violating the 1984 National Organ Transplant Act (NOTA). NOTA makes it a felony to give or receive something of worth - or "valuable consideration" - in exchange for an organ. The Norwood Act clarifies the federal law intended to prevent the sale of organs by living donors to ensure that it does not inadvertently prohibit paired donations. This legislation impacts more than 70,000 Americans waiting for kidney transplants.

Although pairings already happen occasionally, hospitals question their legality. Currently, there is no formal matching system in place to promote paired donations. The Norwood Act will change this. A recent study found that kidney transplants from living donors could increase by 14 percent - possibly more than 1,000 per year - with an improved pairing system.

Norwood, a dentist from Augusta, was diagnosed with a chronic lung disease in 1998 and was placed on a waiting list before getting a transplant in 2004. He was later diagnosed with cancer and died in April 2007 at age 65. He introduced the bill in January with Congressman Inslee. Along with its health benefits, supporters estimate that the legislation will save nearly $500 million in Medicare costs over 10 years as transplant recipients forgo dialysis.

Speaking on behalf of the AST, President Flavio Vincenti, MD, said: "On a daily basis, AST's Washington office has worked with key Congressional leaders to garner support and educate members of Congress on the importance of this legislation. We applaud Congressman Inslee's and the support of Congress and look forward in great anticipation to the many positive changes ushered in by this piece of legislation."

The House approved the legislation March 7, 2007, by a 422-0 vote. The bill passed in the Senate on July 9, 2007, by unanimous consent.

About AST

Founded in 1982, the American Society of Transplantation is dedicated to advancing the field of transplantation through the promotion of research, education, advocacy, and organ donation to improve patient care. The international society includes more than 2,700 transplant physicians, surgeons and allied health professionals. In 2007, the AST celebrates 25 years of promoting excellence in the field of transplantation. For information about AST please visit http://www.a-s-t.org

Editor's Note: To schedule an interview regarding this information, contact Beth Drost - (215) 884-6499.


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SOURCE American Society of Transplantation
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