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Kidney paired donations may expand under pilot program

The Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network in February selected five organizations that work with more than 80 transplant centers to help test a nationwide kidney paired donation system. The pilot project could result in an additional 1,000 live-donor kidney transplants a year. The United Network for Organ Sharing operates OPTN, which sets the country's organ transplant policy. "We think [the pilot] is going to be part of the solution to the organ shortage in this country," said John Friedewald, MD, chair of the OPTN/UNOS Kidney Paired Donation Workgroup. "We won't address the entire gap, but it's a good start." An added 1,000 live-donor kidney transplants a year would represent a 17% increase over the 5,749 such transplants performed in 2009. Another 9,653 transplants were performed last year using kidneys from deceased donors. At this article's deadline, 83,715 U.S. patients were awaiting a kidney transplant. Often, patients in need of kidneys are able to find will ...

Anti-smoking groups want crackdown on fraudulent tobacco marketing

Several public health organizations in February asked the U.S. Supreme Court to impose new requirements for anti-smoking efforts on tobacco companies that were found misrepresenting the health risks of cigarettes. A federal trial court in 2006 ruled that the nation's largest tobacco manufacturers violated federal racketeering laws when they conspired in various marketing tactics that misled the public, particularly youth, about the addictiveness of nicotine. The Tobacco-Free Kids Action Fund, the American Cancer Society and the American Heart Assn. were among six public health advocacy groups that joined the federal government in bringing the suit against Philip Morris USA Inc. and several other cigarette makers and retailers. The tobacco companies admitted no wrongdoing. In May 2009, an appeals court upheld the decision, which prohibited the tobacco companies from engaging in fraudulent advertising and ordered them to make certain health information regarding their products publ ...

Public health departments to test accreditation program

A voluntary accreditation program for public health departments across the country is being tested by 30 departments before its national launch in 2011. The goal of the new program is to improve the quality of care delivered by public health agencies that are responsible for such services as immunizations, hearing tests for children and restaurant inspections. The initiative, believed to be the first of its kind, is being funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "With accreditation status, public health departments will be able to demonstrate increased accountability and credibility to the public, funders, elected officials and other stakeholders," said Kaye Bender, RN, PhD, president and CEO of the nonprofit Public Health Accreditation Board, which was established in 2007 to oversee the effort. At least two states accredit their local health departments, public health officials said. Those programs, in North Carolina and ...