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Imminent and eligible definition data reporting changes

Published on: Tuesday, December 13, 2016


All OPO staff


An OPTN proposal to change neurological death definitions for reporting purposes takes effect on January 1, 2017. This change will affect OPO staff reporting “imminent” and “eligible” death data on death notification registration (DNR) forms.

Important note

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has published revised Medicare rules that include the alignment of the eligible death definition with the OPTN definitions scheduled to go into effect on January 1, 2017. The effective date for CMS changes will be January 1, 2017.

Summary of Changes

The changes include:

  • Adding and deleting language, to better align with the CMS definition. These were not substantive changes that impact the determination of "eligible death."
  • Correcting an inadvertent change to the age threshold for heart and lung donors that occurred during the plain language rewrite of OPTN policies.
  • Adding language addressing HIV positive organs, to align with the CMS definition.

What OPOs need to do

  • Review the policy changes.
  • Beginning January 1, 2017, apply the new definitions when reporting imminent and eligible death data on DNR forms. Please note that OPOs should use the new definitions when reporting deaths that occur January 1, 2017 or later. For all deaths that occur before January 1, 2017, OPOs should use the definitions that are in effect through December 31, 2016.


In June 2013, the Board of Directors approved changes to the imminent and eligible definitions. The OPO Committee subsequently delayed the effective date in order to allow the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) time to make the necessary regulatory changes. CMS published regulatory changes in the Federal Register that proposed replacing the current definition of "eligible death" at §486.302 with the revised OPTN definition. During a review of the final CMS language there were several inconsistencies identified between the two sets of definitions; therefore, the OPO Committee proposed several changes to the OPTN definitions in order to align with CMS regulations. These changes were approved by the Board of Directors on Dec. 5, 2016.

Training recording available

To help you prepare for the changes, access a 10-minute training on UNOS Connect, the UNOS learning management system (LMS) for transplant professionals.

  • Go to the course catalog, Patient Safety category.
  • Find “Modifications to the Imminent and Eligible Neurological Death Data Reporting Definitions.”
  • Register for the course and click Entrance Survey to begin.

Continuing Education Information

As a designated Approved Provider by ABTC, UNOS will grant 0.25 Category 1 Continuing Education Points for Transplant Certification (CEPTC).  

Once you pass the assessment and complete the exit survey, your certificate will be available on your transcript. 

You must pass the assessment to receive a certificate. To pass, you can answer only one question incorrectly. If you fail, you can re-register for the course and complete the assessment a second time. The results of both attempts will remain on your transcript.


Please contact:

  •, for instructional questions.
  • Your regional administrator, at (804) 782-4800, for policy questions.

Interested in additional instructional offerings?

Visit UNOS Connect for more offerings.