Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Researchers study reimbursing living organ donors for out-of-pocket expenses

15.11.2006
More than 80,000 people in the United States are on waiting lists for organ transplants. Some will have to wait for the death of a matching donor, but more and more people are receiving organs from living donors.

Last year nearly 7,000 people donated a kidney, segment of the liver or lobe of a lung to help someone in need of a transplant. In fact at some major transplant centers -- like Barnes-Jewish Hospital and St. Louis Children's Hospital at Washington University Medical Center -- the number of transplants involving living organ donors now exceeds the number of transplants using organs from deceased donors.

In an effort to close the gap between organ supply and demand, researchers at Washington University School of Medicine, the University of Michigan and the American Society of Transplant Surgeons are studying ways to reimburse living donors for some of their out-of-pocket expenses when they choose to donate an organ.

"One of the barriers to living organ donation is the financial barrier," says Barry A. Hong, Ph.D., professor of psychiatry at Washington University and one of the study's principal investigators. "When a relative or friend agrees to donate, they might need an airline ticket or have to pay for lodging or medical tests. Much of that is not covered by insurance, so when someone volunteers to be a donor, they may have significant out-of-pocket expenses."

The current study, funded by an $8 million grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration, will identify and reimburse potential living donors who face financial hardship from those expenses. The investigators hope both to determine whether a system of reimbursement is desirable and by covering some of those out-of-pocket costs to make between 300 and 400 organs available for transplantation that would not have been in the pool otherwise.

"Paying people to donate remains illegal, and that's not what we're doing here," Hong says. "This is a social justice issue. If people come from higher income brackets, they can more easily afford the expenses associated with donation. We hope to ensure that financial issues don't prevent living donors from giving patients in need access to life-saving organs."

In a related study, Hong and his co-investigators -- Roger D. Yusen, M.D., assistant professor of medicine and Alec Patterson, M.D., the Evarts Graham Professor of Surgery and chief of the Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery -- also are taking a close look at the health of living organ donors in the months and years following a transplant. Studying living lung and kidney donors, the researchers want to ensure that those donors aren't experiencing any serious, long-term problems. This is the first large-scale, government-sponsored study to look at organ donor health following transplantation.

"In some sense, transplant centers have never really thought of living donors as our patients," Hong says. "When you don't think of them as patients, you don't follow up with them. Some donors might be followed for a month or six months or even a year, but after that, we really don't know much about them. We just don't know whether being generous and donating an organ might have conferred some extra burden on these people."

When a person donates a kidney, for instance, what happens if later in life they develop kidney disease themselves? And do living donors change their risk of health problems in the years after the transplant? No one really knows. But Hong hopes that learning the answer might provide more incentive for potential living donors.

"The government and the transplant community want to find every reasonable way to put more organs into the pool," he says. "One way might involve removing economic disincentives for living donors. Another way might be giving people better long-term information about donor outcomes. If we can assure donors that they won't have to spend thousands of dollars and that they won't increase their risk of problems down the road, more people might want to donate. That could make more organs available for the people currently waiting for a life-saving transplant."

Jim Dryden | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.wustl.edu

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Multi-year study finds 'hotspots' of ammonia over world's major agricultural areas
17.03.2017 | University of Maryland

nachricht Diabetes Drug May Improve Bone Fat-induced Defects of Fracture Healing
17.03.2017 | Deutsches Institut für Ernährungsforschung Potsdam-Rehbrücke

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

Im Focus: Researchers Imitate Molecular Crowding in Cells

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Argon is not the 'dope' for metallic hydrogen

24.03.2017 | Materials Sciences

Astronomers find unexpected, dust-obscured star formation in distant galaxy

24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Gravitational wave kicks monster black hole out of galactic core

24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>