The National Organ Transplant Act (NOTA) of 1984 called for an Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN) to be created and run by a private, non-profit organization under federal contract. The federal Final Rule provides a regulatory framework for the structure and operation of the OPTN. The OPTN should:

  • increase and ensure the effectiveness, efficiency and equity of organ sharing in the national system of organ allocation
  • increase the supply of donated organs available for transplantation

What is UNOS' relationship to the OPTN?

UNOS was first awarded the national OPTN contract in 1986 by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. UNOS continues as the only organization ever to operate the OPTN. As part of the OPTN contract, UNOS has:

  • established an organ sharing system that maximizes the efficient use of deceased organs through equitable and timely allocation
  • established a system to collect, store, analyze and publish data pertaining to the patient waiting list, organ matching, and transplants
  • informed, consulted and guided persons and organizations concerned with human organ transplantation in order to increase the number of organs available for transplantation

How is the OPTN managed?

UNOS developed a collaborative policy development, monitoring and enforcement process for the OPTN. We also have systems in place for making member inquiries, peer review and data analysis for reviewing membership applications and monitoring member compliance with OPTN policies.

The OPTN acts through its Board of Directors. Board members, chosen through an open, comprehensive nomination process, bring a wealth of commitment and technical expertise to guide the OPTN in establishing and maintaining policies and procedures for the national transplant system.

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