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COVID-19 updates: May 15, 2020

COVID-19 updates: May 15, 2020

AST recommendations and guidance for organ donor testing

In response to inquiries regarding COVID-19, the American Society of Transplantation’s Infectious Disease Community of Practice has developed recommendations regarding organ donor testing. This guidance reflects the current state of knowledge and involves questions pertaining to screening and testing of living and deceased donors in the COVID-19 era. Specifically, the guidance document provides recommendations on:

  • Assessing exposure through epidemiological, clinical and laboratory screening of potential donors
  • Mitigating risk of transmission of COVID-19 from deceased donors through testing and screening
  • Preliminary living donor strategies to lower the risk of COVID-19 donor-derived infection and prevent harm to the donor

This document is subject to change as more information becomes available.

OPTN Board of Directors June 8 meeting now virtual

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the OPTN Board of Directors will now convene virtually on June 8, 2020 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and from 2 to 6 p.m. EDT. The agenda and public access information will be posted to the OPTN Events page.

Implementation of changes to DonorNet® XML schema for COVID-19 testing and results

New data collection elements have been added to DonorNet XML schema to capture information regarding donor COVID-19 testing. OPO staff will now have the capability to import these new data collection elements via the Donor XML upload functionality in DonorNet.

Multi-society town hall webinar provides new updates and information about COVID-19

On May 11, a number of transplant organizations from around the world continued their partnership to create a third educational webinar for the organ donation and transplantation communities. During the webinar, health care professionals shared experiences to date and responded to questions about the impact of COVID-19 on organ donation and transplantation. A recording of the webinar is now available the UNOS COVID-19 webinar page.

Did you miss the May 7 COVID-19 telemedicine webinar?

Text updated June 1, 2021

Catch it now on the UNOS Connect and hear Thomas Jefferson University Hospital’s Jefferson Transplant Institute Medical Director for Kidney Transplantation Pooja Singh, M.D., discuss her transplant hospital’s journey with telemedicine. Among the topics discussed:

  • Expanding access to health care during the crisis, which has triggered removal of some traditional boundaries to care delivery
  • New CARES Act provisions regarding telehealth licensures, reimbursements and supervision roles
  • Recent consumer willingness to try new models of care delivery
  • Removal of roadblocks regarding insurance coverage
  • Workflows for transplant and post-transplant evaluations post-COVID-19
  • Billing for telehealth
  • Practicing telehealth across state lines

Learn how to access the recorded webinar on UNOS Connect.

Thank you, health care workers!

We share our utmost appreciation and support for the dedicated front-line health care workers who continue the important work of organ donation and transplantation. Thank you for your commitment to saving lives every day amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.


System modification to WaitlistSM allows hospitals to reactivate liver candidates without having to update labs

Effective May 6, a transplant program reactivating a liver transplant candidate to a MELD or PELD status in Waitlist is no longer required to input updated lab values to support the listing. The system previously asked the program to supply all new lab values even if the candidate’s previous values had not yet expired.

This action is independent of any COVID-19-related changes. It may, however, be helpful to liver transplant programs who have recently inactivated candidates because of COVID-19 and are now reactivating them.

Any change from an inactive liver candidate to a Status 1A or 1B will require the appropriate justification form with lab values no less recent than the past two days, per the schedule in OPTN Policy 9.2.


Stay current

We will continue to update the UNOS COVID-19 resources page as guidance is developed and enhanced.

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