Organ procurement: Trust matters
Nonprofits that procure donated organs for transplantation too often betray their mission through spending that diminishes trust in them by wrongly costing taxpayers.
Reviewing 2011 federal tax filings and audits done since 2010 by the Department of Health and Human Services' Office of Inspector General, the Trib identified “multiple incidents” involving expenses deemed improper by auditors and partial billing of those expenses to taxpayers via Medicare.
The $167,000-plus questionably spent by the California Transplant Donor Network included $9,600 billed to taxpayers for about half the cost of a former CEO's 2007 retirement party.
Life Connection of Ohio board members billed taxpayers $2,100 for a 146-mile private-plane trip from Toledo to Dayton.
And Los Angeles' OneLegacy billed taxpayers for part of its $75,000 annual sponsorship of a Rose Bowl Parade float — even after the inspector general faulted it for doing so.
But such spending's greatest cost — the distrust it breeds — can't be measured in dollars and cents. “If we lose the trust,” says Susan Stuart, CEO of the Center for Organ Recovery & Education in O'Hara and president of the Association of Organ Procurement Organizations, “more people will die.”
Supposed to serve the public and help save lives, these nonprofits turn self-serving and hinder their purpose when they spend and bill taxpayers improperly. It's a practice that Medicare's federal overseers must end.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- American contrasts: Post-Ferguson
- Thanksgiving briefing ...
- U.N. Watch: Cheering on Iran
- The Kathleen Kane chronicles: The Pa. attorney general’s credibility is gone
- Greensburg Tuesday takes