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United Network For Organ Sharing Does Not Adequately Detect, Fix Problems With Hospitals' Organ Transplant Programs, Los Angeles Times Investigation

The United Network for Organ Sharing, which administers the U.S. organ transplant system, "often fails to detect or decisively fix problems at derelict hospitals -- even when patients are dying at excessive rates" -- and "routinely keeps findings of its investigations secret, leaving patients and their families unaware of the potential risks," according to a Los Angeles Times investigation. For the investigation, the Times reviewed confidential UNOS documents and interviews with dozens of past and present organization board members, transplant physicians, patients and others.

According to the Times, UNOS has never recommended that the federal government close an active transplant program and in some cases takes years to take action against programs that have high mortality rates. In addition, UNOS "often backs down after being challenged -- or even defied" -- by transplant programs, and organization officials in a number of cases have "missed obvious red flags," the Times reports.

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