726,950 Organ transplants performed in the past 20 years
Although an employee needing an organ transplant is a rare occurrence, statistics show that the number of transplants being performed each year is rising. As of August 2017, there were about 116,000 men, women and children on the national transplant waiting list, with a new person being added every 10 minutes. Each day approximately 80 people receive organ transplants, with more than 34,000 transplants performed in 2017. The number of people on the transplant list continues to outpace the available organs, however there is evidence that this gap is narrowing, in part due to the opioid crisis.
The opioid epidemic in the United States has had devastating consequences. Opioid misuse and related overdoses are critically high. Deaths from opioid overdoses have increased by more than five times in the past 20 years. The families who have watched a loved one suffer and die from a drug addiction or overdose can find solace knowing that there are at least eight organs that can be donated from one person, giving their loved ones the chance to save the lives of eight different people. Data from the United Network for Organ Sharing, the organization that manages the nation’s organ transplant network, show that the number of deceased organ donors hit a record high in 2017 for the 5th straight year.
As the number of lives lost to the opioid epidemic in the U.S. continues to spike, the number of organ donations increases as well. Because of the increase in donors, the number of transplants increased by 20% in the last 5 years; 50% of this increase can be traced back to drug overdose. With the trend of transplants nationally continuing to grow, now is the time to prepare. Covered members will spend less time on the waiting list and lifesaving transplants are more likely. Roundstone’s cost containment team can answer questions and assist you to ensure your plan design includes language that addresses cost containment strategies related to transplants.
Abigail Riolo, M.Ed., MS
As a Data Analyst with Roundstone, I work with Roundstone’s leadership, underwriting, claims and accounting teams to develop data-driven reports with actionable recommendations that help employers control their healthcare spend.