1 1 (June 17, 2020)

handle is hein.crs/govdhzx0001 and id is 1 raw text is: 

               Researh Sevice

COVID-19: Effect on Organ Donation and


Updated June 17, 2020
The U.S. domestic response to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) poses both short- and long-term
concerns for the U.S. organ transplant system. Organs are a limited resource, and their allocation is
strictly regulated to try to ensure that no donated organs go unused. A number of transplant centers have
suspended their transplant programs due to COVID-1 9. In addition, individuals were inactivated from
organ waitlists in large numbers due to COVID- 19 precautions, and inactivation may occur again if states
have to halt elective procedures due to COVID- 19 surges. Disruptions in the system may create long-term
effects for both the allocation of organs and the viability of involved organizations, which are subject to
federal outcome measures.
This Insight provides background information on the organ donation and transplantation system,
summarizes action taken to respond to COVID-19 by the organ transplant community, and identifies
potential issues for Congress.


Organ donations and transplantations are coordinated through the Organ Procurement and Fransplantation
Netwkxork (OPTN), a nationwide network of all organizations involved in the process (e.g., transplant
centers, organ procurement organizations [OPOs], laboratories). OPTN is administered by the United
Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS), a private organization under contract with the Department of Health
and Human Services (HHS) Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). UNOS has held the
contract to administer OPTN since it was established by the National Organ Transplant Act of 1984 (P.L.
98-507, as amended).
OPTN administers a series of policies designed to allocate organs with consideration of both the limited
number of organs and their short shelf-life, among other considerations. OPTN is also responsible for
monitoring performance of OPTN members. OPTN is able to take emergency action in the event that a
policy proposal is required due to an emergent public health issue or patient safety factors. Policy
proposals under emergency action must be submitted through the normal policy proposal process, but
they are subject to a truncated comment period and carry an expiration date.

                                                                Congressional Research Service

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