Press Releases

Boozman Applauds Administration's Organ Donation Rule for Face, Arm, Hand and Limb Transplants

HRSA rule "critical step for patients and wounded veterans"

Jul 02 2013

WASHINGTON D.C. – U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) issued the following statement after the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) announced its decision to classify vascular composite allografts (VCAs) as organs. The decision places face, arm, hand and limb transplants under the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN). 

“In recent years, we’ve achieved amazing medical breakthroughs in human face, arm, and limb transplants, and this commonsense health care policy is a critical step for patients and wounded veterans,” Boozman said. 

“We can’t perform these remarkable surgeries without a matching network. This is the proper role of government in health care, and I applaud the administration’s efforts to build the necessary transplant infrastructure for the future.” 

The final rule was made available today for public display and will be published in the Federal Register tomorrow, July 3, 2013. 

Background: 

In 2011, Boozman wrote a letter to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, cosigned by 16 other members, directing the administration to classify VCAs as organs and move forward with the necessary regulatory guidance under HRSA. Click here to read a copy of the letter.

HRSA oversees human organ transplantation. The OPTN, a unified transplant network operated by a not-for-profit organization, United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS), helps facilitate the donation process. The OPTN is responsible for operating a national computer system for matching donor organs among all registered candidates.  

In recent years and as a result of great advances in science and medicine, there has been a surge in the growth of the field of transplantation of limbs and other fully formed body parts, or Vascularized Composite Allografts (VCAs), also known as composite tissue allotransplantation.  

The national donation framework has yet to accommodate for VCAs. VCAs often include arteries, skin, muscles, bone, tendons, and veins. Providers, patients, and the donor community have asked to treat VCAs like organs for the purpose of donations. The final rule would integrate VCAs into the OPTN framework. 

Related news reports can be found here, here, here and here

Related Files

  • VCA letter - vca final letter.pdf (385.6 KBs)
    In 2011, Senator Boozman led a letter to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, cosigned by 16 other members, directing the administration to classify VCAs as organs and move forward with the necessary regulatory guidance under HRSA.