OSF Saint Anthony Medical Center files waiver to join Gift of Hope Organ and Tissue Network

By Jim Hagerty
Staff Writer

OSF St. Anthony Medical Center has announced it will upgrade its organ and tissue donor program by aligning with one of the country’s top organ procurement agencies.

The center filed a waiver July 15 with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to leave its current organ procurement organization and join the Gift of Hope Organ & Tissue Donor Network.

One of the top organ procurement organizations (OPO) in the United States, Gift of Hope is known for its strong outreach network and high donation rates.

According to OSF officials, the alignment will result in shorter wait times and improved care for Rockford patients.

“OSF St. Anthony is focused on increasing organ donation by improving services and outreach conducted in our community,” Dave Shertz, OSF president and CEO, said. “We think Gift of Hope can help us achieve that goal. We firmly believe aligning with Gift of Hope will increase organ donation and better serve Rockford residents and their loved ones.”

Gift of Hope is a non-profit organization that coordinates organ and tissue and supports donor families in the northern three-quarters of Illinois and northwest Indiana. One of 58 federally-designated agencies, Gift of Hope works with 179 hospitals in educating the public, health care professionals and families about the importance of organ and tissue donation. The agency also coordinates the recovery of organs and tissue for transplant.

The decision to align with Gift of Hope came partially after reviewing the successful relationship the agency has with Rockford Memorial Hospital.

“Gift of Hope has helped to achieve a higher rate of organ donation at Rockford Memorial Hospital than we have achieved,” Shertz added. “We believe that by partnering with OSF Saint Anthony, [it] will improve its performance and increase the number of available organs for Rockford and all of northern Illinois.”

OSF St. Anthony is being served by the University of Wisconsin organ and tissue program, and is behind Rockford Memorial’s 100 percent donation rate.

“We are excited to align with OSF Saint Anthony Medical Center and believe this partnership is critical to patients awaiting transplants in Illinois,” Jarold Anderson, president and CEO of Gift of Hope said. “Working together, we will create a stronger network for Rockford and for the transplant centers that serve our communities.”

Gift of Hope was started in 1986 and has saved the lives of 17,000 organ recipients and helped hundreds of thousands receive tissue transplants. The agency serves approximately 11.8 million patients.

OSF St. Anthony will begin its relationship with Gift of Hope after the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, a division of the United States Department of Health and Human Services, reviews its waiver request. For more information, visit illinoisorganssavelives.org.

More information about Gift of Hope is available at giftofhope.org.

From the Aug. 4-10, 2010 issue

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