Quarterly Update from Kevin Myer - April 2016

It’s National Donate Life Month across the country and it’s being celebrated in big ways across the Lone Star State!

As we dive into the second quarter of 2016, I wanted to take a moment and provide some updates on some of our key initiatives:

First is the Donate Life Texas Registry. We have grown to 8.3 million registered donors, which is having a major impact on increasing donation in our service area. Of the 41 organ donors recovered in March 2016, 28 were authorized via the Donate Life Texas Registry. That’s nearly 70 percent. Our focused public relations and community engagement efforts, including our Ambassador of Hope program, are paying off. 

Second, we continue to invest in training resources for our staff. For those situations where a potential donor is NOT registered, we work with our hospital partners to support families in crisis and support the opportunity for donation via the appropriate next of kin (family member). Increasingly, the time to spend with families is getting tighter and tighter. As such, our personnel need special training to excel at obtaining authorization for organ, eye and tissue donation. 

To that end, we are training staff from all over our donation service area (DSA) to learn and practice techniques that help us “attend to” the needs of the family experiencing loss, the needs of the hospital staff involved and the needs of our own staff.  Most people support donation. Even so, if we are not as sharp as we can be during these crucial conversations, or if the family isn’t attended to expertly, we could lose the opportunity for donation via an authorization decline. We are committing major resources to improve our authorization rates.

I’d also like to take the opportunity to update you on our performance improvement project at Memorial Hermann-TMC. Under the leadership of Jessica Roth, RN, BSN, CPTC, we are making great progress by continuing to build a team specific to the needs of this large center. With incredible administrative support of Memorial Hermann-TMC and our working to redesign our services and the way we provide around-the-clock support, we are optimistic about helping more families decide to donate. 

On the research and innovation front, we are continuing to enroll cases in the Stanford Donor Heart Study and the Region 5 (soon to be national) Donor Management Goals study, and we have recently become part of the HIV Organ Policy Equity (HOPE) Project. The HOPE Project studies the benefits of recovering organs from HIV+ donors (liver and kidneys) and transplanting them into HIV+ recipients. We are enrolled in this project and ready to move forward at such time as a HIV+ donor situation presents itself.

And all of this is happening as we expand hope with our new addition to the Houston building, slated to open in early May. 

We anticipate opening our new addition to the building in Houston in early May. This addition will house a brand new, state-of-the-art call center as well as a training center with all the bells and whistles included.

All of these positive indicators are encouraging and provide confidence that we are on the right pathway to continue the evolution of LifeGift into a more effective organization. In the midst of our busyness and quest to complete these projects, we must not forget our core purpose: to offer hope.

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