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Montefiore Receives Federal Government Medal of Honor

New York City, NY, (November 1, 2006) - Montefiore Medical Center has been honored for showing breakthrough leadership in the arena of organ donation.  Out of a total of 104 hospitals in the metro area, Montefiore is only one of seven that were honored by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) during a meeting in New Orleans of the Second National Learning Congress on Organ Donation and Transplantation.  The hospitals were recognized for substantially raising the organ donation rates of eligible donors from their facilities.                

All told, 371 of the nation’s hospitals, together with their partners, 57 organ procurement organizations (OPOs), received the department’s Medal of Honor for Organ Donation.
The organ procurement organization that serves the greater New York metropolitan area is the New York Organ Donor Network, which, in addition to locating healthy organs, works to preserve organs and arrange for their distribution.          

Montefiore, and the other honorees, were cited for achieving and sustaining an organ donation rate of 75 percent or more of eligible donors.  By contrast, the national average organ donation rate in all hospitals was 59 percent in 2005.  Montefiore, which has one of the most active Kidney donation programs in the country, averages about 100 transplants a year.

The seven hospitals honored from the Metropolitan Region are:
Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx 
Elmhurst Hospital Center in Flushing 
Franklin Hospital in Valley Stream
Huntington Hospital on Long Island
Lutheran Medical Center in Brooklyn
St. Francis Hospital and Health Center in Poughkeepsie
Winthrop University Hospital in Mineola 

“While we are excited that Montefiore’s work in organ donation and transplant is being recognized, people across the country are still dying waiting for organs,” said Vivian Tellis, MD, chief of transplant surgery at Montefiore. “We all must work even harder at raising awareness of what organ donation means and how many lives can be saved through that selfless act,” he said.

 “New Yorkers of all backgrounds are coming to the understanding that organ and tissue donation saves lives and is the highest form of human charity and goodness,” said Elaine Berg, president and CEO of the New York Organ Donor Network.

“The work of these hospitals and OPOs made possible 1,200 more life-saving and life-enhancing transplants in 2005 compared to 2004” said Elizabeth Duke, administrator of HHS’ Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), which houses the federal government’s pro-donation activities. “Their achievements show that we can improve systems to boost donation rates and save more lives in the future,” she said.

The 371 winning hospitals came from a pool of 787 hospitals that met eligibility criteria.

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