In the News

Kansas City Star
Andy Marso

The federal government has delayed changing the way donor livers are distributed, a proposal that hospitals in Kansas and Missouri said would have led to longer waits — and more deaths — for Midwesterners who need a transplant.

The change was supposed to go into effect at the end of this month but will be put off for at least two weeks as a federal judge in Atlanta weighs a lawsuit brought by more than a dozen transplant centers that believe they stand to lose from the new policy.

The University of Kansas Hospital and St. Luke’s Hospital were among the hospitals that joined the lawsuit this week.

“This is an issue critically important to the patients of our region and we have been very actively involved in this issue for a long time,” KU Hospital transplant surgeon Sean Kumer said in a statement released by the hospital. “We are planning to continue work on this issue to protect our patients’ access to needed transplants closer to home. We are anxiously awaiting the resolution of these liver allocation issues.”

Republican U.S. Sens. Jerry Moran of Kansas and Roy Blunt of Missouri, who have been highly critical of the change, hailed the decision to delay it.

“This delay is good news for Missouri patients who are anxiously waiting for a liver transplant and can’t afford to have these misguided changes move forward,” said Blunt.

Moran said he “will continue working with our strong coalition of policymakers, transplant centers and patient advocates to halt any changes that would negatively impact Kansans and those on transplant wait lists in the Midwest.”

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