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September 2023

Since the last e-newsletter, the agenda has been quite full of activities and events affecting the transplant community.


MEDICARE COVERAGE OF NON-INVASIVE TESTS FOR ORGAN HEALTH

As has been reported earlier, non-invasive testing was halted for kidneys, lungs, and hearts last March when used for surveillance only purposes, as opposed to confirming organ rejection once detected. Since this halt, there has been a hailstorm of activity and newspaper coverage so that non-invasive heart and lung testing is now restored and covered by insurance and Medicare.


This leaves kidneys still not covered with vulnerable populations struggling to maintain transplant health. The Medicare contractor opened a public comment period to receive public input over its decision. This period closed on September 23rd, and now the community is waiting for information from the contractor.


TRIO was a very important part of a coalition led by Cura Strategies to point out the harms that can happen with such a change. We should receive more information from Cura in the upcoming weeks.


HR 2544

This past week, President Biden signed this bill, which now opens the door to allowing for-profit entities the ability to bid on managing and running the OPTN/UNOS system. It is expected that the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) will release requests for bidding starting this Fall.


HRSA has provided a feedback mechanism for the public to weigh in on these changes to OPTN/UNOS. There is a template at the HRSA website to enter input. The instructions are as follows:

  1. Follow this template to submit feedback: https://tinyurl.com/bdz4bwsz

  2. Encourage your friends and family to do the same.

  3. VACCINATIONS


Vaccinations are now available for the new strain of COVID as well as this year’s flu and also Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV). There is a very easy-to-use summary form that identifies who should get these vaccines. Please contact Ike Copperman at irajay2004@gmail.com for a copy of this summary form.


As always, please work with your transplant team to determine the suitability of any of these vaccines for your individual situation.


In addition, COVID tests are now available through government sources. There is a very easy-to-use order form at the following link:


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