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UNOS seeks better air transportation for lifesaving organs

December 08, 2022, Richmond, VA

Board Presidents and Interim CEO request meeting with DOT, HRSA, FAA and TSA to find paths for improvement

United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS), the non-profit that serves as the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN) under contract with the federal government, is seeking to systematically improve nationwide transportation for donated organs.

In a letter sent today to U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Secretary Pete Buttigieg, UNOS leadership requested a meeting with the DOT as well as the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to discuss potential solutions for increasing efficiency for commercial air transportation of organs for transplant. The letter was authored by UNOS’ Interim CEO Dr. Maureen McBride, UNOS Board President Dr. Jerry McCauley, Vice President/President-Elect Dr. Dianne LaPointe Rudow, and Past President Dr. Matt Cooper.

“Practical, logistical, and regulatory obstacles to the safe and efficient delivery of donor organs should be identified, remedied, and monitored,” wrote McBride, McCauley, Rudow and Cooper. “We believe you, the FAA and TSA could provide valuable assistance on how to increase the efficiency of commercial air transportation of organs for transplant.”

During an OPTN Board of Directors meeting on Monday, December 5, Dr. McBride called for stakeholders across the donation and transplant community to help expand upon ongoing improvements to the national system, which included prioritizing potential solutions for safer and more efficient organ transportation.

“Today we’re going to have a collaborative conversation about how the community can answer the public’s call for assurances that these precious gifts of life are delivered safely and efficiently to their destination,” said Dr. McBride to the OPTN board on Monday. “We’re going to ask all of you to prioritize potential solutions for how the OPTN can fix these problems. That includes advocating as a community for federal level solutions.”

Also copied on the letter were HRSA Administrator Carole Johnson, FAA Acting Administrator Billy Nolen, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and TSA Administrator David P. Pekoske.

A copy of the full letter can be found here.

Saving lives together

United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) serves as the national donation and transplant system, under contract with the federal government.

TOPIC | Improvement | Transportation
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