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Tuesday, December 18 , 2018, 7:38 pm | Fair 52º


President Obama Signs Capps’ HIV Organ Policy Equity Act Into Law

Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara, joined President Barack Obama on Thursday as he signed the HOPE Act (S. 330/H.R.698), a bill she authored, into law.

The HOPE Act creates a science-based path for medical research to proceed on the feasibility, effectiveness and safety of organ transplants between HIV-positive patients.

The HOPE Act replaces an outdated policy banning HIV-positive organs from being used for any purpose, even research.

With the enactment of the HOPE Act, the secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services will develop criteria for how to conduct research relating to organ transplants from donors and to patients who are already HIV-positive. HHS is also required to annually review the results of the medical research in order to determine whether the results warrant these types of transplants becoming the standard of care for HIV-positive patients.

According to a study published in the American Journal of Transplantation, allowing HIV-positive organ donation to HIV-positive transplant patients may potentially save hundreds of lives each year.

“After years of work on crafting this legislation, building bipartisan consensus, and collaborating with advocates in the HIV and medical communities, I am thrilled to see the president sign the HOPE Act into law today,” Capps said. “This proves that even in a divided Congress, we can come together to pass common sense bills with bipartisan efforts that will help save lives, improve health outcomes and save taxpayer dollars.”

“I applaud the president for signing this important piece of bipartisan legislation into law and am hopeful it produces encouraging results for HIV-positive individuals,” said Sen. Tom Coburn, M.D., R-Okla., the chief Republican sponsor of the bill in the U.S. Senate.

“I am proud that President Obama signed our bipartisan legislation into law today,” California Sen. Barbara Boxer said. “Ending this outdated research ban will save lives and give hope to thousands of patients and their families.”

“This legislation gives new hope to all of those waiting for organ transplants,” said Rep. Andy Harris, M.D., R-MD, the House Republican who co-led the bill. “As a physician who has performed anesthesia during organ transplants, I have seen firsthand the life-saving joy that receiving an organ can bring to patients and their families. I appreciate the bipartisan support this common sense change to an outdated law has received.”

“The HOPE Act will ultimately provide better access to live-saving transplants for all Americans, which is why ASN so strongly advocated its passage,” said ASN President Sharon Moe, MD, FASN. “This commonsense law paves the way for cutting-edge transplantation research. ASN commends Sen. Boxer, Rep. Capps, Sen. Coburn and Rep. Harris for their leadership and vision in advancing this medical milestone.”

Capps, a registered nurse, authored the HOPE Act in conjunction with Sens. Boxer and Coburn. The bill was co-led by Rep. Harris. In the House, the measure garnered 53 bipartisan co-sponsors and in the Senate it had the bipartisan support of 15 senators. In June, the Senate passed its version of the HOPE Act, and that bill was voted on by the House last week; previously the House bill passed the Energy and Commerce Committee by voice vote. The HOPE Act was signed into law by President Obama on Thursday.

The HOPE Act was supported by a broad group of medical and patient organizations, including the American Medical Association, the American Society for Transplantation, the American Society of Transplant Surgeons, Dialysis Patient Citizens, the HIV Medicine Association, the United Network for Organ Sharing, the American Civil Liberties Union, the American Society of Nephrology, the Human Rights Campaign, the Organization for Transplant Professionals, the American Transplant Foundation, the Association of Organ Procurement Organization and others.

C.J. Young is a press assistant for Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara.


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