Local hospitals awarded for work with organ donations

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An organ procurement organization has awarded Kalispell Regional Medical Center, North Valley Hospital and The HealthCenter for superior performances in tissue and organ donations for 2018, among other recognitions.

LifeCenter Northwest gives out numerous achievement awards every year. The Flathead County hospitals were three of 10 hospitals to receive the Tissue Donation Achievement Award. Other hospitals that received the award include Holy Rosary Healthcare in Miles City and Gritman Medical Center in Moscow, Idaho.

According to LifeCenter’s 2018 annual report, the average U.S. donation rate is around 50 percent and awards were presented to hospitals that reached or exceeded 60 percent. Factors that impact tissue donation include timely referrals, logistics, community education and outreach.

North Valley and The HealthCenter also earned Donation Referral Achievement Awards for reaching or exceeding a referral rate of 95 percent for tissue donation. The report emphasizes that achieving and maintaining a high timely referral rate is “incredibly challenging.”

In addition, Kalispell Regional was one of 25 hospitals to receive the Collaboration Achievement Award. The award “honors our hospital partners that excel in the area of planning a collaborative family conversation with LifeCenter Northwest,” according to the report.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services says more than 113,000 men, women and children were on the national transplant waiting list as of January 2019. A total of 36,528 transplants were performed in 2018.

LifeCenter, which serves Alaska, Montana, North Idaho and Washington, provided 878 organs total in 2018 and had 556 tissue donors who gave an estimated 69,500 tissue grafts.

“It’s an honor to work with such dedicated hospital partners,” LifeCenter Northwest President and Chief Executive Officer Kevin O’Connor said in a prepared statement. “We greatly appreciate the contributions they make every day to help save and heal lives through organ and tissue donation.”

Reporter Kianna Gardner can be reached at 758-4439 or kgardner@dailyinterlake.com

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