The Veterans Health Administration (VHA) ensures equal access to transplants. Since 1961, approximately 8,000 veterans have received kidney transplants through the VA referral system.
Who is eligible for a kidney transplant?
All veterans enrolled for care in the VA system are eligible for consideration for transplant services.
How do I start the process?
The request for transplant must originate from the veteran's primary VA medical center where the veteran is enrolled. The VA staff physician from that primary center completes a referral packet and all required documentation. The original referral packet and three copies are mailed to the VA National Transplant Office in Washington, D.C.
What are the steps in the process?
First, the VA National Transplant Office assigns two members of the Transplant Review Board to review the packet. Board members are transplant physicians located throughout the U.S. This board will recommend whether the packet can be forwarded to a regional VA Transplant Center for in-depth review.
Second, if approved by the Board, the referral packet will be assigned to one of four VA Transplant Centers.
Third, if assigned to Iowa City, the veteran and his/her support person will travel to Iowa City for an on-site evaluation, where additional testing is done.
Fourth, when all testing has been completed, the veteran's referral packet is formally presented to the VAICHCS/University of Iowa Transplant Team. The team will determine if:
- further testing or information is required
- the veteran is a candidate for transplantation
- the veteran is not a candidate for transplantation
If at any point the veteran is determined not to be a candidate for transplantation, then renal care will continue through the veteran's primary VA medical center.