After years of debate among liver disease doctors, researchers and transplant centers, the U.S. Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN) has approved a new policy that aims to address long-standing geographic disparities in the supply of donated organs across the country, The Washington Post reports.
The new proposal, which was given the green light only after liver disease experts considered 63 alternative plans of action, aims to make a greater number of donated livers available in big cities like New York and Chicago, where the shortage of organs is most severe. To this end, the organization will essentially extend the area within which an organ can be offered by drawing a 150-nautical-mile circle around donor hospitals instead of relying on current practice, which divides the United States into 11 regions for liver distribution.
The plan hopes to end current liver transplant disparities. For decades,
OPTN says the new policy is expected to make
That notwithstanding, the plan was officially approved last week and is expected to roll out across the country over the course of 2018.