Assertion On Complete Dwelling Organ Donor Protections

WASHINGTON, March 5, 2021 / PRNewswire / –

Diana Clynes, American Association of Kidney Patients
[email protected]
Peggy Tighe, American Society of Transplant Surgeons
[email protected]
Bill Applegate, American Society for Transplantation
[email protected]

March is National Kidney Month and April is National Donation Month. Affirming the American Association of Kidney Patients (AAKP), the American Society of Transplant Surgeons (ASTS), and the American Society of Transplantation (AST) are the leading, independent national organizations representing patients, organ donors and their families, transplant surgeons and transplant physicians our commitment to increasing altruistic living organ donation through better legal protection for a person who becomes a living organ donor. It is unacceptable that Americans with kidney failure should be forced to wait on a transplant list or die for a transplant if Congress could pass comprehensive policy solutions to remove barriers to living organ donation, increase available organs, and more Save lives.

Kidney disease and kidney failure are a threat to every American. They disproportionately affect minorities and color communities who already bear the burden of different care, health inequalities and lower organ transplant rates. An increased living organ donation will save thousands of lives and livelihoods each year. However, significant obstacles remain. Patients, potential organ donors, transplant professionals, social workers, and community lawyers cite practical realities and concerns about job loss, insurance status, including the ability to maintain current or future insurance, and family financial security as major barriers to increased organ donation . AST, ASTS, and AAKP believe that no person should be discriminated against for their noble decision to become a living organ donor. This means that no donor should face differential treatment or hidden punishment for selfless behavior because of their threat to job security, career or life, health and disability insurance or related future insurability.

Today we agree to say hello to the congressman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Congressman Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA) Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR) for their efforts to anchor FMLA protection for all living organ donors and to increase altruistic organ donation. For National Kidney Month, these four elected leaders have reintroduced the Living Donor Protection Act of 2019 (HR 1255 & p. 377), which protects currently insured potential living organ donors from discrimination and helps patients with kidney failure. We are pleased that you have taken this important first legislative step. We look forward to improving and strengthening the language to reflect the more comprehensive patient / donor-centric solutions we have supported in the past. Congress must ensure that this legislation prohibits discrimination based on insurance that in any way inhibits living donation and more fully protects the patient-doctor relationship necessary to assess the risks and benefits of transplantation. The bill must prevent life, disability and long-term care insurance companies from refusing or restricting coverage and charging higher premiums for uninsured or insured living organ donors because that person is a living donor.

Congressman Nadler, Congressman Mr. BeutlerSenators Gillibrand and Senator Cotton, as well as AAKP, AST, and ASTS know that barriers to increased transplantation can be removed through bipartisan action that elevates and protects the interests of patients and living organ donors. In 2018, the U.S. Department of Labor issued a legal opinion that the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) extends job protection for many Americans interested in becoming living organ donors. Last year, a bipartisan majority in Congress passed the “Comprehensive Coverage of Immunosuppressive Drugs” Act, which came into effect in December 2020. AAKP, AST and ASTS worked diligently to build the base and support of medical experts for these two interventions, which together protect jobs and extend life-saving immunosuppressive drug coverage beyond a restrictive 36-month limit and provide new coverage for those who do lose their insurance, existing drug insurance. These measures will save hundreds of lives and prevent kidney patients from losing their organs and returning to expensive dialysis insurance.

Congress can and should do more for living organ donation by building on past achievements to remove barriers and remove remaining negative incentives by enacting the “Act to Protect Living Donors in 2021” (HR 1255 & P. 377) in the year 117 improves, strengthens and then drives Congress. We hope that Congress continues to listen carefully to the selfless Americans ready to give the gift of life and the patients and families anxiously awaiting organ transplants.

Contact AAKP for more information Diana Clynes, [email protected];; ASTS Peggy Tighe, [email protected];; or ASTs Bill Applegate, [email protected].

SOURCE American Kidney Patients Association

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