Funding for mission-critical OPTN computer system upgrades
As OPTN/UNOS president, I write to you about a matter of importance to all transplant programs.
You may be familiar with the efforts underway to ensure that UNOS has the resources necessary to make mission-critical upgrades to the OPTN computer system. Last year, the OPTN/UNOS Board of Directors formed a special Board subcommittee, the Information Technology Advisory Committee (ITAC) to study these issues and make recommendations to the Board.
The ITAC continues to develop detailed recommendations, but it is clear that UNOS will need significant additional resources in the near term to address system improvements and implement previously approved policies and bylaws. This will likely require a substantial increase to computer registration fees assessed upon a candidate’s listing for a transplant. There may be other options for funding and work prioritization, but those efforts alone will not likely address the scope of the need.
Estimates being reviewed by the ITAC range as high as a thirty percent increase in fees. At the same time, the new contract could include new requirements and new expenses. I am working with UNOS staff to identify savings to offset some of the increases.
We expect the ITAC to bring specific recommendations for Board consideration within the next few months. For budget planning purposes, it may be important that you become aware of the situation now.
You may read an article recently posted to the UNOS Transplant Pro site that addresses the ITAC’s initial report to the Board at its November 2012 meeting. We will use Transplant Pro, as well as UNOS’ monthly e-newsletter, to keep you apprised of additional developments as they occur. Please check Transplant Pro regularly to stay apprised of all policy and patient safety-related information as well as alerts of upcoming events. If you do not currently receive the monthly e-newsletter, you can subscribe here. If you have additional questions, contact your regional administrator.
John Roberts, M.D.
President, OPTN/UNOS Board of Directors