Equitable Access to Liver Transplant

R Rosenblatt et al. Hepatology 2021; 74: 2808-2812. Open Access. Equitable Access to Liver Transplant: Bridging the Gaps in the Social Determinants of Health

The problem:

“Evaluation for organ transplantation, a life-saving procedure, involves a multistep, highly selective process. Initially, referrals to appropriate subspecialists and a transplant center are required. During evaluation, candidates undergo formal assessment of adequate social support, psychological health, health insurance, adherence, and understanding of treatments. Each step in the transplant evaluation process is an opportunity for inequity to insert itself, resulting in disparate access to listing for transplantation. This manifests through mechanisms related to poor health literacy, lack of insurance or high copay, poor social support, and geographical location. Culture incapacity by health providers and implicit bias at the provider level and health care system level can create additional barriers. Examples of health inequities include lower referral rate for LT and inferior outcomes among Black and Latinx compared to White patients,(3) while, in addition to race/ethnicity, sex and health literacy(4) also strongly correlate with the likelihood of listing. SES [socioeconomic status] affects both waitlist mortality and post-LT survival as well.”

This article proposes policy measures to counter the deleterious effects of SDOH [social determinants of health]—identify and reduce implicit bias, expand and optimize telemedicine, and improve community outreach. “Structural racism, access to affordable insurance, health literacy, and substance abuse therapy are equally important factors that contribute to health disparities and inequities and warrant further commentary and research, but are outside the focus of this policy piece.”

Related blog post: Getting a Seat at the Liver Counter

1 thought on “Equitable Access to Liver Transplant

  1. Hello,

    My name is Pat Reeves and I co-chair the NASPGHAN Fellows committee.

    For the past 2 years, an extremely talented group of fellows, working in tandem with the NASPGHAN Training and Technology committees have produced an updated NASPGHAN Toolbox as a progressive web App.

    You can access this tool from your phone or computer desktop-anywhere!

    This tool is endorsed by the North American Society for Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition (NASPGHAN) and is called, “The NASPGHAN Toolbox”.


    It contains clinical calculators, patient education materials, guidelines, and more all at the click of your phone or computer mouse.

    We are hoping to contribute in some way to a future blog post by showcasing the availability and offerings of this FREE tool to a wider audience.

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