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HHS Recognizes Hospitals With Highest Organ Donation Rates

ROCKVILLE, Md., Oct. 10 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) today presented awards to 392 of the nation's largest hospitals for their success in increasing organ donation rates at their facilities.

Hospital executives, together with their partners in 57 federally designated organ procurement organizations (OPOs), received the Department's Medal of Honor for Organ Donation for achieving and sustaining a donation rate of 75 percent or more of eligible donors. They were recognized during the Third National Learning Congress on Organ Donation and Transplantation held in Nashville, Tenn., on October 9-10.

"We are pleased and proud to see the incredible progress of our nation's hospitals in increasing donation rates," said Elizabeth M. Duke, administrator of HHS' Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), which houses the federal government's organ donation activities. "In just four years, the number of hospitals that have achieved the 75 percent rate has soared from 55 to 392 -- a remarkable accomplishment.

These record gains followed HRSA's launch in 2003 of the Organ Donation Breakthrough Collaborative. The Collaborative brings together donation professionals and hospital leaders to identify and share best practices to integrate organ donation into the hospital's end-of-life continuum of care. Staff from HRSA and the OPOs help participating hospitals identify, adapt, test, and implement practices essential to an effective and family-centered donation program.

The 392 winning hospitals come from a pool of 716 hospitals that met eligibility criteria. This represented hospitals with eight or more potential organ donors during the 26-month award period ending in June 2007 who sustained a donation rate of 75 percent or more from among eligible donors for at least a year.

The success of the Breakthrough Collaboratives has made it possible to transplant 4,146 more organs in 2006 than in 2003. In 2006, 31,184 organs were transplanted during 28,923 organ transplant operations. Of the total number of transplanted organs, 24,461 came from deceased donors (78.4 percent), and 6,723 were from living donors (21.6 percent). To help hospitals successfully transplant more organs, a new Collaborative -- the Transplant Growth and Management Collaborative -- met for the first time at the Nashville Learning Congress with the goal of transplanting 35,000 deceased donor organs in a single year, 43 percent more than in 2006. A HRSA report that describes best practices for helping hospitals transplant more organs while maintaining successful outcomes was presented at the meeting. The report will be posted at; additional information on donation initiatives is available at that Web site.

The full list of HHS Medal of Honor recipients is available on-line at:

The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), part of the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services, is the primary Federal agency for improving access to health care services for people who are uninsured, isolated, or medically vulnerable. For more information about HRSA and its programs, visit

SOURCE Health Resources and Services Administration
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