Transplant Referral Guide

Facility-Specific Referral Criteria


Section 494.80(a)(10) of the revised Conditions for Coverage for ESRD Facilities, effective October 14, 2008, sets forth requirements for patient assessment with regard to transplantation referral:

"Evaluation of suitability for a transplantation referral, based on criteria developed by the prospective transplantation center and its surgeon(s). If the patient is not suitable for transplantation referral, the basis for nonreferral must be documented in the patient’s medical record." **

Interpretive Guidance states that regulations for transplant programs require written selection criteria to be developed, and provided upon request, to patients and dialysis facilities. Selection criteria vary among transplant centers; if the dialysis facility refers patients to multiple transplant centers, the dialysis facility should have the selection criteria for each center on file and available to patients.

Network 3 Transplantation Recommendations 2011-2012

  • All facilities should establish the transplant status of patients.
  • All facilities should have a written policy defining delivery of transplant information to all patients, including when transplant information will be presented to new patients, what tools (brochures, video) are used, and who conducts annual follow-up education/contact with patient.
  • All facilities should designate one staff member to facilitate transplant education, evaluation referrals, submission of laboratory samples, and patient status changes.

Transplant Referral Guidance


For all patients in a maintenance dialysis program:


Evaluate & Classify Patient


The Medical Record will indicate that:
  • The patient has been evaluated of suitability for a transplant referral, based on individual transplant center criteria, by the interdisciplinary care team including, but not limited to, a nephrologist, a nurse, a social worker, a dietitian and the patient or patient designee.
  • The patient has been classified as a suitable or unsuitable candidate for transplantation.
  • This initial assessment must be completed within 30 calendar days of admission to the facility or within the first 13 outpatient treatments within the facility.
  • The ESRD Conditions for Coverage mandate a comprehensive reassessment of each patient annually (at minimum) with the revision of the Plan of Care. Both the patient assessment and Plan of Care should include reevaluation of treatment modality and transplant status.


Inform Patient & Document Decision


The Medical Record will indicate that:
  • Patients determined not suitable for transplant referral were informed of this determination.
  • Suitable patients were presented the option of referral to a transplant center for evaluation, received transplant center contact information, and received information on deceased donor and living donor transplant.  

Document Transplant Status


If the patient IS a transplant referral candidate, the medical record will indicate:
  • Patient's decision to accept of decline the transplant referral
  • Plans for pursuing transplantation, if the patient accepts the referral
  • Patient refused the transplant option after further consideration  

If the patient is NOT a referral candidate, the medical record will indicate:
  • Reasons for the non-referral as a transplant candidate

Track Transplant Referrals


  • Track the result of each transplant referral
  • Monitor the status of each patient on the transplant wait list
  • Communicate with the transplant center regarding patient status at least yearly and whenever there is a change in status.

** "Medicare and Medicaid Programs; Conditions for Coverage for End-Stage Renal Disease Facilities; Final Rule." Federal Register 73:73 (15 April 2008) p. 20479.