It is not uncommon we hear about human organ trafficking in other countries. Here, in the US, we have several state and federal laws that regulate this business but we have one organization in particular whose sole mission is to oversee the organs allocations and transplant process.
United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) is the private, non-profit organization that manages the nation’s organ transplant system under contract with the federal government. Basically one of UNOS responsibilities is to make sure that organ transplantation is as safe as it can be by setting a national standard with rules that every single transplant center in this country must follow. UNOS will survey every program every three years with a very comprehensive examination of practices and to make sure everybody follows the rules and its policies. Trust me, when UNOS is in the house, people are nervous! We just went through that at our center and a lot of people were anxious. They look at every I’s and T’s to make sure they are dotted and crossed. The surveyors usually spend most of their time examining the pre-transplant process. They will go through charts after charts to make sure every single detail is present. They will compare the information used to place a patient on the national wait list to what is available in the chart. A transplant center who uses wrong data can and will be severely penalized. Using wrong data is usually done with the intention of getting patients transplanted faster. They also want to make sure that patients make an informed decision when signing up for transplant. Proof of education provided to the patient should be found in the chart.
The important thing to remember here is that the integrity of the system is mostly intact due to the oversight and transparency of the transplant world in the USA. The main payor (insurance) for transplant in the country is government funded insurance so every transplant centers have a huge interest in following the rules. No hospital wants to be on the front page or make the news in a negative way regarding its transplant program. So yes, UNOS is the watch dog of transplant.