Gift of Hope earns top award for organ donation efforts

October 31, 2012

Staff Report

ITASCA, Ill. — The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has recognized Gift of Hope as one of just eight “high-performing” organ procurement organizations (OPOs) in the nation that have met or exceeded national best practice benchmarks for helping to increase the availability of transplantable organs. As a result, Gift of Hope received a “Gold Medal of Honor “ award from HHS during a special ceremony Oct. 4.

Since 2003, Gift of Hope and the nation’s other 57 OPOs have been working with hospitals and transplant centers to achieve the following three critical goals identified as key factors in driving the success of organ transplantation:

• Increase success rates in converting eligible donors into actual donors;

• Increase the number of organs transplanted from each donor; and

• Increase the number of donations after cardiac death as a percentage of all donors.

Being recognized by HHS as a top-performing OPO indicates that Gift of Hope, in collaboration with our hospital and transplant center partners, is achieving these goals and providing lifesaving organs for the people we serve,” said Jerry Anderson, president/CEO of Gift of Hope.

OPOs’ success at converting eligible donors to actual donations is the principal measure for how effectively they are collaborating with their partnering hospitals, Anderson added.

The current benchmark for optimum performance is a 75 percent conversion rate,” he said. “Through effective teamwork between Gift of Hope and our partnering hospitals, we exceeded that standard with a conversion rate of 80 percent over the last two years.”

Gift of Hope also exceeded HHS’s national benchmarks for the average number of organs recovered and transplanted and for the rate of donations after cardiac death, Anderson added.

We are the principal point of interface between organ donors and patients awaiting transplantation,” Anderson said. “We facilitate the organ donation process by developing effective relationships with hospitals and transplant centers. As a result of this work, we can successfully maintain the opportunity to present the gift of life to someone waiting for a donor organ.”

Gift of Hope received its Gold Medal Oct. 4 at the seventh National Learning Congress for the Donation and Transplantation Community of Practice in Grapevine, Texas. The National Learning Congress is an annual gathering of professionals dedicated to enhancing lives through organ, tissue and eye donation and transplantation.

Celebrating 25 years of saving and enhancing lives in 2012, Gift of Hope is a not-for-profit organ procurement organization entrusted by the nation’s health care system with coordinating organ and tissue donation and providing donor family services and public education in Illinois and northwest Indiana. Since 1987, it has coordinated donations that have saved the lives of nearly 20,000 organ transplant recipients and improved the lives of more than 160,000 tissue transplant recipients.

As one of 58 organ procurement organizations that make up the nation’s donation system, Gift of Hope works with 180 Illinois hospitals and serves 12 million residents in its donation service area. It also is part of Donate Life Illinois, a coalition of donation advocacy organizations that educates Illinoisans about organ, tissue, eye, blood and marrow donation and encourages them to be donors.

From the Oct. 31-Nov. 6, 2012, issue

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