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BUFFALO, NEW YORK; November 15, 2007-The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recently presented an award to Erie County Medical Center (ECMC), as one of 392 of the nation's largest hospitals, for success in increasing its organ donation rate. 

Hospital executives from ECMC and other facilities across the country, together with their partners in 57 federally-designated organ procurement organizations (OPOs) including ECMC's partner, Upstate New York Transplant Services, Inc. (UNYTS), received the Department's Medal of Honor for Organ Donation for achieving and sustaining a donation rate of 75 percent or more of eligible donors.  They were recognized during the Third National Learning Congress on Organ Donation and Transplantation held in Nashville, Tenn., on October 9-10. 

The 392 winning hospitals come from a pool of 716 hospitals that met eligibility criteria.  This represented hospitals with eight or more potential organ donors during the 26-month award period, ending in June 2007, who sustained a donation rate of 75 percent or more from among eligible donors for at least a year.  In 2005, the HHS honored ECMC with UNYTS as one of only 184 of the nation's hospitals for substantially raising the organ donation rates of eligible donors to 75% or higher.  In 2004, ECMC and UNYTS was recognized as one of just 21 "Organ Donation Breakthrough Collaborative" teams across the United States to achieve an organ donation rate of 75% or higher. 

"For the calendar year 2007, through collaborative efforts between ECMC and UNYTS, we have been able to achieve a sustained organ donation conversion rate of 75% or higher," explained Cheryl Nicosia, RN, MS, Nurse Clinician and Organ Donation Liaison at ECMC. 

Record gains in increased organ donation rates followed the HRSA's (Health Resources and Services Administration) launch in 2003 of the Organ Donation Breakthrough Collaborative.   The Collaborative brings together donation professionals and hospital leaders to identify and share best practices to integrate organ donation into the hospital's end-of-life continuum of care.  A report is posted at http://www.organdonor.gov/ and additional information on donation initiatives is also available at that Web site. 

The ECMC Corporation includes an advanced academic medical center (ECMC) with 550 inpatient beds and 136 skilled-nursing-home beds, on- and off-campus health centers, over 40 outpatient specialty care clinics and the Erie County Home, a skilled nursing facility.  ECMC is the regional center for trauma, burn care, rehabilitation and is a major teaching facility for the State University of New York at Buffalo.  Most ECMC physicians, dentists and pharmacists are dedicated faculty members of the University.  More Western New York residents are choosing ECMC for exceptional patient care and customer service.

NEWS CONTACT:  Joe Cirillo at 716-898-4300 or jcirillo@ecmc.edu

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11/15/2007

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