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OPTN Board Declares Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center a Member Not in Good Standing

Published on: Thursday, October 6, 2022

At a meeting held Sept. 21, 2022, the OPTN Board of Directors declared Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center to be a Member Not in Good Standing. Hershey Medical Center is a transplant hospital based in Hershey, Pa.

As established in the OPTN Bylaws, the Member Not in Good Standing designation is the most severe member action that the OPTN can take independently and is intended to provide public notice of an OPTN member that has committed a serious violation of OPTN policies or bylaws or has demonstrated a serious lapse in patient safety or quality of care. The bylaws also provide standards for members to eventually have the designation reconsidered and potentially removed if they demonstrate substantive improvement.

The OPTN’s peer review process involving Hershey Medical Center identified a number of concerns with the liver and kidney transplant programs’ adherence to OPTN requirements and their processes for quality assurance and performance improvement. Areas of focus included reports of surgical complications and questions about the currency of surgical expertise, as well as a culture of retaliation for reporting potential problems.

“The hospital is undergoing corrective actions in cooperation with the OPTN,” said Dianne LaPointe Rudow, DNP, vice president/president-elect of the OPTN Board of Directors. “The OPTN Membership and Professional Standards Committee and our Board will continue to review their progress on a confidential, peer-review basis and help them as they make needed improvements in the interest of patient safety.”

As of the time of this notice, Hershey Medical Center has voluntarily inactivated its kidney and liver transplant programs. The OPTN Bylaws obligate transplant programs under long-term inactivation to arrange for ongoing care of candidates listed with them.

Summary of Events

The MPSC conducted a detailed, confidential, due process review of information regarding the transplant programs, following the measures outlined in Appendix L of the OPTN Bylaws. The review process included a peer visit to the hospital on June 7-8, 2022, and an interview with program officials on August 22, 2022.

The MPSC, following its review, recommended Hershey Medical Center to be designated Member Not in Good Standing. The OPTN Board of Directors approved the MPSC’s recommendation on Sept. 21, 2022.