A statement from the UNOS Board of Directors regarding the national examination of our donation and transplant system.
Sept. 1, 2022
The UNOS Board of Directors’ goal is to help save more lives through organ donation and transplant. We represent patients, living donors, deceased donors, donor families, transplant hospitals, organ procurement organizations, professional societies, and advocacy groups from across the country.
The OPTN is one part of the complex system that oversees organ donation and transplant. Recently, that system has been under national examination. As the board of UNOS, the contractor responsible for operation of the OPTN, we believe that it is our responsibility to undertake responsive actions following the recent Senate Finance Committee hearing.
While the system is fundamentally strong, we are never satisfied with the status quo and agree there are areas where the community can and must improve and concerns the community must address. We believe we can lead the way by driving improvements and acting as conveners with the transplant community, our federal partners and Congress.
As a Board, we are committed to identifying opportunities from both the Senate Committee on Finance’s report and the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Mathematics (NASEM) report; opportunities where UNOS can drive improvements and bring the community forward effectively, efficiently, safely and transparently. We are prepared to work with our federal partners, relevant agencies and members of Congress to drive our common improvement agenda.
The ability of the OPTN to drive improvements in OPO performance requires effective partnerships with CMS and HRSA and may ultimately require action from the HHS Secretary. UNOS welcomes the opportunity to work with Congress, CMS, HRSA, the diverse stakeholders who make up the donation and transplant community and, most importantly, the patients that we serve to update and improve the statutes, regulations and contractual obligations governing our activities in order to make oversight of the system more effective.
UNOS has been and remains committed to providing the best possible IT architecture to support members, including the organ allocation process. Our existing structure is cloud based, provides transplant centers and OPOs the opportunity to minimize manual input, and is audited annually by HRSA. We welcome them on site to conduct another full audit of our IT systems. We also stand ready to work with HRSA, HHS and others to answer questions and provide access to our system for an audit to take place.
We believe that the most significant opportunities to improve efficiency and reduce organ discards lies in reducing the time it takes OPOs to locate a program willing to accept an offered organ. To that end, the OPTN has developed two important concept papers that are included in the current public comment cycle. These papers challenge our community to work together to increase the use of offer filters to proactively screen donor offers and develop more consistent offer management expectations, with the aim to reduce the time transplant programs need to make decisions.
Together, we’re focused on ensuring we have the most efficient, equitable and innovative system possible as we strive toward continuous improvement and collaborative partnerships.
Read more at unos.org/advocacy