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Omnibus funding passage provides life-saving support for cellular transplant program

March 14 2022

MINNEAPOLIS - National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP)/Be The Match® commends Congress for passing new bipartisan legislation that provides $32 million to support greater access to cellular transplants for patients afflicted by blood cancers like leukemia and lymphoma, as well as other blood diseases. For many of these patients, cellular transplants are the only viable treatments for these diseases.

“Funding for these essential services is the product of bipartisan teamwork in both the House and Senate among legislators who support our mission of saving lives through cellular therapy,” said NMDP/Be The Match Chief Policy Officer Brian Lindberg. “Thanks to the work of our Advocacy Ambassadors, we are helping policymakers understand the essential work of the Nation’s Registry.”

Each year, NMDP/Be The Match helps connect over 6,500 patients with matching donors. Additional funding has helped U.S patients access 39 million donors internationally making our life-saving mission more accessible to every patient who needs a transplant. The federal funding will be used to expand the pool of life-saving donors, and remove barriers that limit access to curative therapies, particularly for historically underserved patients.

“Increased federal funding is an increase in lives cellular therapy can save. Congressional support is absolutely critical to giving Americans facing blood cancer and blood diseases hope for a second chance at life. ,” Lindberg said. “By standing with our patients, Congress can help us continue our work to provide patients with cutting-edge cellular transplants, reduce their cost of care and ensure that everyone has equal access to a cure.”

In addition to increased funding for the Nation’s Registry, Congress is set to grant a five-month extension to telehealth flexibilities, created during the pandemic, as part of the 2022 omnibus spending bill.

NMDP/Be The Match supports telehealth services being equitably available through easily usable technologies that are accessible to patients. Telehealth increases access to care for transplant recipients, especially for those who don’t live near a transplant center, and helps to limit unnecessary exposure in clinics and doctor offices. NMDP/Be The Match advocated for this extension and will continue to work with Congress to make these provisions permanent.

NMDP/Be The Match also supports the elimination of geographic and originating site restrictions in Medicare coverage of telehealth services to ensure patients can receive care at a convenient place that is also clinically appropriate.

“Increased Congressional funding will help eliminate barriers and expand the National Registry will make treatment more equitable and accessible for all who need it,” Lindberg said. “Additionally, a telehealth extension will continue to ensure that both patients and donors can access care when they need it as it takes a community to deliver cures for bone marrow, blood stem cell and cord blood transplant recipients.

About National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP)/Be The Match®
For people with life-threatening blood cancers such as leukemia and lymphoma, a cure exists. National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP)/Be The Match connects patients with their donor match for a life-saving marrow or cord blood transplant and works to identify and eliminate financial and other barriers faced by these patients. NMDP also provides patients and their families one-on-one support, education, and guidance before, during, and after transplant.