ORGAN ALLOCATION: Frist Bill Aims for ‘Middle Ground’
Following the House vote Tuesday to strip HHS's control over the organ allocation system, Sen. Bill Frist (R- Tenn.) yesterday announced plans to introduce a bill that "would strike a middle ground," CongressDaily reports. Frist, a former transplant surgeon, unveiled the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network Act of 2000, which would reauthorize the National Organ Transplant Act that expired in 1993. The bill would ensure that "organ transplant policies are developed by the medical community while allowing for appropriate federal oversight of the organ transplant system." It would establish a "policy board" that would set transplant policies using "sound medical principles and valid scientific data." Under the bill, any dispute that might arise between the board and HHS officials would be worked out by a 15-member independent advisory committee comprised of five members selected by HHS, five selected by the board and five appointed by the nonpartisan Institute of Medicine (Rovner, 4/5). Frist said, "The goal is to have medical decisions made by the transplant community, with strong oversight and strong accountability." However, Frist has yet to receive backing from HHS or Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.), who has been working closely with Frist on a compromise (Meckler, AP/Philadelphia Inquirer, 4/6). Although Kennedy "still has problems" with the measure, his spokesperson said he "will continue to work with Frist to ensure that the bill reported from committee reflects the goals they both share" (CongressDaily, 4/5).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.