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An important message from the OPTN Board President on OPTN Board independence

Published on: Tuesday, April 9, 2024

OPTN Board President, Dianne LaPointe Rudow, ANP-BC, DNP, FAAN, recently sent a communication to all OPTN members with an update on OPTN Board independence.

Dear colleagues,

I wanted to provide an important update regarding the structure of the OPTN Board of Directors and extend my appreciation for your dedication to our community and the OPTN through this challenging yet exciting time. 

We received robust community feedback during the special public comment period for the policy change that would allow for different boards between the OPTN and the contractor. On March 26th, the OPTN Board of Directors unanimously approved the proposal. Having an OPTN board that is independent of current and future contractors will mitigate actual or perceived conflicts of interest and enable board members to have a singular focus on the mission of the OPTN and the patients it serves.  

Through robust discussion and collaboration with our HRSA partners, we have developed a plan that includes the creation of an independent legal entity to serve as the OPTN. This plan includes measures to ensure the uninterrupted continuity of the OPTN so that it can continue to fulfill its mission of service to patients with end-stage organ failure, provides a clear path, with a date certain, to a fully independent OPTN, and ensures that the OPTN volunteers have the legal protections necessary to fulfill their fiduciary responsibilities. This is a historic day and one that would not be possible without the efforts of the transplant community. We are deeply appreciative and humbled by the privilege of being your colleagues and members of the transplant profession. 

The contractor’s new Board members will begin their terms starting this Saturday, March 30, following the conclusion of the current OPTN contract on March 29. UNOS and HRSA are working to reach an agreement on a new short-term contract, which would also go into effect on March 30. UNOS will continue to provide support and insurance for the OPTN Board of Directors. 

Please know that in addition to these contract updates, the current OPTN Board of Directors and the OPTN itself will continue to carry out its work as normal, including our work on the Expeditious Task Force. Our commitment and service to patients and the donation and transplant community remains unwavering despite the changes we are experiencing. 

I want to thank all of you for your engagement, support, and guidance during this initiative to separate the contractor and OPTN boards. I promise to continue to provide you with updates as I receive them. Most importantly, thank you for your continued commitment to the patients we serve. 

Dianne LaPointe Rudow, ANP-BC, DNP, FAAN

OPTN Board President