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All about funding

Every organ donation is a gift from the donor. However, the process of organ donation and transplantation also involves a number of additional costs. These include the costs of ensuring a team of medical professionals is available to provide care to the donor and their next of kin, and coordinating transport for the surgery teams and the organ recipient. Any medical examinations or procedures that have to be carried out on brain-dead patients before an organ is removed are covered by the organ recipient’s basic health insurance. Swisstransplant is responsible for covering any costs incurred during the donation process which are not reimbursed through the recipient’s case-based flat rate of Swiss Diagnosis Related Groups (SwissDRG) and ensuring payment is made to the various partners in the hospitals who are involved. The foundation performs this service on behalf of the Schweizerischer Verband für Gemeinschaftsaufgaben der Krankenversicherer (Shared services association of Swiss health insurers – SVK).

Swisstransplant has also been tasked with implementing three of the four defined action fields from the “Mehr Organe für Transplantationen” (More organs for transplantations) campaign by 2021. This will see the foundation working closely with the National Committee for Organ Donation (CNDO). The CNDO is Switzerland’s top committee for organ donation, and receives its mandate and the necessary financial backing to participate in this campaign from the Swiss Conference of the Cantonal Ministers of Public Health (GDK).

As the central quality-control mechanism for the organ donation process in Swiss hospitals, Swiss Monitoring of Potential Donors (SwissPOD) fulfils an important legal requirement. All operational and maintenance costs of SwissPOD are covered by the GDK; in return, as the owner of SwissPOD, Swisstransplant is responsible for ensuring that the database runs smoothly at all times.

Blended learning
is a vital tool for ensuring objectives are met regarding education and further training in the area of organ donation. The law sets very clear tasks in this regard, which must be fulfilled by medical professionals in organ and tissue donation (local coordinators) working in hospitals with intensive care units. Swisstransplant provides valuable support by maintaining a fully functional blended learning system.

At the beginning of 2015, Swisstransplant was commissioned by H+ Die Spitäler der Schweiz (the Swiss hospitals association) and the SVK to ensure financing was earmarked for medical professionals in organ and tissue donation in hospitals across Switzerland. Swisstransplant has a fiduciary duty to generate these financial means for the medical professionals concerned in a transparent and verifiable manner, and the foundation has been able to ensure that from 1 July 2016, specific funds are earmarked for statutory staffing resources in hospitals.