The National Perspective

ORGAN PROCUREMENT ORGANIZATIONS

The fifty-eight Organ Procurement Organizations (OPOs) serving the nation represent a unique aspect of the health care system. These community-based, non-profit organizations are designated by the federal government to recover organs from deceased donors for transplantation. Indeed, they are the only organizations charged with such a responsibility. Since the creation of the OPO structure in the mid-1980s, the US has developed one of the most successful systems of donor identification, authorization, recovery, and coordination in the world.

The work of OPOs also includes support services for donor families, the clinical management of deceased donors, in-service and professional education of hospital staff, public education and donor registration, tissue, and cornea donation and the recovery of non-transplantable organs and tissues for medical research.

OPOs are critical to the organ transplant system that tens of thousands of patients depend on each year to provide the life-saving transplant they so desperately need. For this reason, it is important to recognize the ongoing high-level performance of our donation system and to continue advocating for system changes to support continuous improvement.

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