OPTN/UNOS Board adopts principles of geographic organ distribution


Richmond, Va. – The OPTN/UNOS Board of Directors, at its meeting June 11-12, adopted a set of principles to guide future organ transplant policy relating to geographic aspects of organ distribution. The Board approved the principles by a vote of 32 in favor and five opposed.

“Geography presents inherent challenges in developing equitable transplant policy for candidates across the nation,” said Yolanda Becker, M.D., president of the OPTN/UNOS Board of Directors. “There are differences in the distribution of transplant centers and in the size and configuration of organ procurement organizations. In addition, there is geographic variability in the concentration of disease patterns that cause organ failure and causes of death that make organ donation possible. Adopting these principles is a necessary first step to address issues of geography in a systematic way.”

The statement of principles reads as follows: 
Deceased donor organs are a national resource to be distributed as broadly as feasible. Any geographic constraints pertaining to the principles of organ distribution must be rationally determined and consistently applied: 
Geographic distribution may be constrained in order to:
  • Reduce inherent differences in the ratio of donor supply and demand across the country
  • Reduce travel time expected to have a clinically significant effect on ischemic time and organ quality
  • Increase organ utilization and prevent organ wastage
  • Increase efficiencies of donation and transplant system resources
These principles were recommended by the Ad Hoc Geography Committee, which the Board formed in December 2017 to study the issue and make recommendations. Continue reading