New UNOS kidney allocation system narrowed racial gaps in transplant

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A new kidney allocation system implemented in 2014 by the United Network for Organ Sharing reduced racial disparities in receipt of kidney transplants, according to a study published in the June issue of Health Affairs.

Taylor A. Melanson, from Emory University in Atlanta, and colleagues examined the effect of the new kidney allocation system implemented in 2014 on racial disparities in receipt of kidney transplant. Data were analyzed for 179,071 transplant waiting list events from June 2013 to September 2016, and monthly transplantation rates were calculated (34,133 patients received transplants).

The researchers observed a narrowing of disparities in the average monthly transplantation rates with implementation of the new system, by 0.29% and 0.24% for blacks and Hispanics vs whites, respectively. This resulted in both disparities becoming nonsignificant.

“The new system represents an important step toward achieving equitable access to kidney transplantation, but continued monitoring is crucial to maintaining and improving upon the disparity reductions we observed,” the authors write. “If the disparity reduction is sustained, the kidney allocation system will serve as a valuable example of how health policy can be shaped to immediately reduce racial/ethnic disparities in our health care system.”

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About the Author:

Corey Bryant serves as Director of Communications for The Alliance.
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