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Board approves new bylaws for living donor transplant programs

Published on: Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Los Angeles [September 17, 2007] -- The OPTN/UNOS Board of Directors approved new bylaws for OPTN member transplant centers who operate kidney and/or liver programs involving living donor transplants.

"These standards are important to protect the safety of living donors and ensure the best possible outcomes from living donor transplantation," said Timothy L. Pruett, M.D., president of the OPTN and UNOS and chair of the OPTN/UNOS Board of Directors. "They also ensure consistency with program requirements of other agencies, particularly new regulations established by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services."

The new bylaws require programs performing living donor transplantation to have written protocols addressing all phases of the living donor process and abide by those protocols once established. In addition, the bylaws require programs to have a knowledgeable person, independent from the medical professionals directly involved in the care of the potential transplant recipient, to be an advocate for the needs and interests of the potential living donor.

Virtually all of the nation's 248 kidney transplant programs perform living donor transplants, and more than 90 liver programs have performed at least one living donor transplant. Transplant programs will be asked to submit applications to demonstrate that they meet the criteria established in the bylaws. The applications will be considered in phases to ensure efficient review of the programs involved.

The Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN) is operated under contract with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration, Division of Transplantation by the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS). The OPTN brings together medical professionals, transplant recipients and donor families to develop organ transplantation policy.