Public discourse and policy change: Absence of harm from increased oversight and transparency in OPO performance

Brianna L. Doby, Katie Ross-Driscoll, Marion Shuck, Matthew Wadsworth, Christine M. Durand, Raymond J. Lynch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced changes to the Final Rule for organ procurement organizations (OPOs) in November 2020, after a 23-month period of public debate. One concern among transplant stakeholders was that public focus on OPO underperformance would harm deceased donation. Using CDC-WONDER data, we studied whether donation performance dropped during the era of public debate about OPO reform (December 2018–February 2020). Overall OPO performance as measured relative to cause, age, and location-consistent deaths rose by 12.3% in 2019, compared to a median annual change of 2.5% 2009–2019. Organ recoveries exceeded seasonally adjusted forecasts by 4.2% in the first half of 2019, by 8.1% following the Executive Order issuing a mandate for OPO metric reform, and by 14.1% between the Notice of Public Rule Making and the onset of COVID-19-related systemic disruptions. We describe changes in donor phenotype in the period of increased performance; improvement was greatest for older and donation after cardiac death (DCD) donors, and among decedents who did not have a drug-related mechanism of death. In summary, performance during an era of intense public debate and proposed regulatory changes yielded 692 additional donors over expectations, and no detriment to organ donation was observed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2646-2652
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Transplantation
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Transplantation
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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