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Source & Scope of Public Health Legal Powers

Adventist Health Systems/SunBelt, Inc., et al. v. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, et al.

Overview

Adventist Health Systems/SunBelt, Inc., et al. v. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, et al. (U.S. Court of Appeals, 8th Cir., Nov. 8, 2021): A federal court denied plaintiffs’ request to stop an Organ Procurement and Transplant Network (OPTN) rule change from taking effect because the plaintiffs could not show that the HHS-sponsored entity tasked with establishing procedures for organ transplants violated principles of federal law in adopting the rule. Plaintiffs, a group of hospitals and a kidney waitlist patient, challenged an OPTN rule changing how available kidneys are allocated to waitlist patients. In part, plaintiffs alleged that OPTN acted arbitrarily and capriciously by abandoning the preexisting rule for the new rule without any consideration of the merits of the existing rule. The court disagreed, finding that the OPTN properly abandoned the preexisting rule based on long-standing and widespread criticism and in a reasonable effort to improve kidney transplant procedures. Read the full decision here.

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