Rapides Regional Medical Center has been honored by the Department of Health and Human Services for its support of organ donation.

The Department of Health and Human Services officials earlier this month presented awards to 404 hospitals, 38 organ procurement organizations and 174 transplant programs for their success in increasing the number of organs available and transplanted.

Rapides Regional received the department’s Medal of Honor for Organ Donation for achieving and sustaining national goals for donation, including a donation rate of 75 percent or more of eligible donors at their facilities.

Awards were presented for the work done during the time period of April 1, 2010, through March 31, 2012.

Transplant programs were recognized based on their performance on post-transplant survival rates, transplant rates, and mortality rates after patients are placed on waiting lists.

“I applaud these award winners for bringing the gift of life to so many,” said HHS Assistant Secretary for Health Howard K. Koh, M.D., M.P.H.  "Their tireless efforts to make improvements in the donation and transplantation field will continue to help save lives." 

The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) at HHS supports the Donation and Transplantation Community of Practice, which brings together donation and transplantation professionals, hospital staff, and other professionals involved in the donation process to identify and share best practices.

HRSA is also in the midst of a National Hospital Organ Donation Campaign, which enlists the help of hospitals across the country in increasing the number of people who enroll as future donors on their state donor registry.  Fifty-Six Organ Procurement Organizations and Donate Life affiliates, 15 state hospital associations, and 653 hospitals and transplant centers were recognized for their leadership in this national campaign.

“Many of the organizations that are receiving these awards today have been working for years to help their peers take advantage of what they have learned in order to help everyone succeed, ” said Mary K. Wakefield, Ph.D., R.N., HRSA administrator. “We honor them today and encourage them all to continue in their work to increase organ donation and transplantation.”

The Louisiana Organ Procurement Agency was among the organ procurement organizations honored.