U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Recognizes 10 Colorado & Wyoming Hospitals, Three Transplant Centers and Donor Alliance for High Organ Donation Rates

October 4, 2012

Colorado and Wyoming leaders in giving the gift of life, with an 88 percent organ donation rate

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) today awarded 10 Colorado and Wyoming hospitals, three local transplant centers, as well as the organ procurement organization serving the same region with Medals of Honor for their success in maximizing the lifesaving gift of organ donation. The awards were presented today at the seventh annual National Learning Congress for the Donation and Transplantation Community of Practice held in Grapevine, Texas.

The annual HHS recognition of hospitals and organ procurement agencies measures organizations’ proficiency in maximizing the gift of life. The Colorado and Wyoming service area was among the nation’s most recognized with 11 total Medals of Honor. In 2011 the region had an 88 percent organ donation rate, (the number of organ donors recovered as a percentage of all eligible potential donors,) far exceeding the national goal of 75 percent.

Donor Alliance, the federally-designated, non-profit organ procurement organization serving Colorado and most of Wyoming, was awarded its second consecutive Silver Medal of Honor. Additionally, 10 hospitals across the two states were recognized. Littleton Adventist Hospital, Memorial Health System, Penrose-St. Francis Hospital & Health Services, St. Anthony Hospital, St. Mary’s Hospital and Regional Medical Center, Swedish Medical Center, University of Colorado Hospital and Wyoming Medical Center received Silver Medals of Honor. Denver Health and The Medical Center of Aurora received Bronze Medals of Honor. Three local transplant centers were also honored: Children’s Hospital Colorado earned a Silver Medal of Honor for lifesaving efforts in both heart and liver transplants, and earning Bronze Medals of Honor were Presbyterian/St. Luke’s Medical Center in the area of kidney transplantation, and the University of Colorado Hospital for its proficiency in lifesaving heart transplants.

“We are so proud that Colorado and Wyoming are leaders in the country when it comes to our collaborative dedication to save as many lives as possible through the gifts of generous organ donors,” said Sue Dunn, president and CEO of Donor Alliance. “Donor Alliance and hospitals throughout the region have a mutual pledge to continue to improve donation rates to help the more than 2,300 people throughout our states who are currently awaiting the lifesaving transplants they need.”

The HHS awards were born out of the National Organ Donation and Transplantation Breakthrough Collaborative, an initiative launched by HHS in 2003 to save thousands of lives annually by spreading best practices in organ donation to the nation’s largest hospitals. The intent was to convert each transplantable organ into a lifesaving gift for those on waiting lists throughout the country.

Medals were awarded to hospitals and organ procurement organizations that met or exceeded national goals during a 12-month measurement period from April 1, 2010 through March 31, 2012: an organ donation rate of 75 percent or more, greater than 3.75 organs transplanted per donor and at least 10 percent of all donors recovered by Donation after Circulatory Death (DCD).

Representatives from Colorado & Wyoming hospitals joined Donor Alliance at the 2012 National Learning Congress.