Law360: Karina Albistegui Adler Talks Disparities in Organ Transplant Access, New Proposal by Biden Administration

May 16, 2024

Disability Justice, Health Justice, Immigrant Justice, Media Coverage, News, Transplant Equity, UndocuCare, UndocuCare TGNCI+

Close-up on a masked surgeon who is operating on a patient that is out of view, with another surgeon's back to us as they look on.

LAW360 | MAY 2024

Karina Albistegui Adler, co-director of Health Justice at NYLPI, was featured in a Law360 article about racial bias in the U.S. organ transplant system, a lawsuit against UNOS (the organization that oversees organ transplants in the United States) and a proposed rule by the Biden administration to address racial and economic barriers to transplants.

“The president and vice president are focusing on diversity and access to kidney transplants, which has been a problem,” [Albistegui] Adler said. “Historically, there’s been a race-based medical algorithm that excluded a lot of African American Black folks from transplants in ways that it didn’t for white people.”

Black Americans with kidney disease face a longer wait for transplants due to a previously used, racially biased kidney function test. This test, called eGFR, overestimated kidney function in Black patients, delaying their placement on the transplant waitlist. Although UNOS has already changed its policy to eliminate race-based calculations and adjusted wait times for Black patients impacted by the old system, lawsuits are ongoing.

The Biden administration’s proposed rule is a new model to increase kidney transplants, with financial incentives for hospitals performing more procedures. This model aims to address racial and socioeconomic disparities in access to transplants.

Karina pointed out that receiving an organ transplant is also a problem for other minority groups and low-income people, including unauthorized immigrants who can donate organs for transplants but often aren’t on the receiving end.

Subscribers can read the full article at Law360.

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