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The U.S. Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN) helps ensure the success and efficiency of the U.S. organ transplant system. OPTN responsibilities include:

  • facilitating the organ matching and placement process through the use of the computer system and a fully staffed Organ Center operating 24 hours a day
  • developing consensus based policies and procedures for organ recovery, distribution (allocation), and transportation
  • collecting and managing scientific data about organ donation and transplantation
  • providing data to the government, the public, students, researchers, and the Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients, for use in the ongoing quest for improvement in the field of solid organ allocation and transplantation
  • developing (1999) and maintaining a secure Web-based computer system, which maintains the nation's organ transplant waiting list and recipient/donor organ characteristics
  • providing professional and public education about donation and transplantation, the activities of the OPTN and the critical need for donation

Under federal law, all U.S. transplant centers and organ procurement organizations must be members of the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN) to receive any funds through Medicare. Other members of the OPTN include independent histocompatibility laboratories involved in organ transplantation; relevant medical, scientific, and professional organizations; relevant voluntary health and patient advocacy organizations; and members of the general public with a particular interest in donation and/or transplantation.

The United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS), based in Richmond, Virginia, administers the OPTN under contract with the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The OPTN contract is overseen by the HRSA OPTN Project Officer, Robert Walsh.