HB19-1253 Living Organ Donor Insurance Act Passed & Exceeds Expectations!

Today marks a huge victory in the transplant community through the passage of the Colorado Living Organ Donor Insurance Act! This lifesaving legislation was passed on the last day of the legislation session and we couldn't be more thrilled. Next step: Governor Polis' desk!

What it's all about: Colorado Living Donor Insurance Act will prohibit health, life, disability, and long-term care insurers from discriminating against living organ donors by charging them higher premiums or denying them insurance.

Right now, Colorado and New York are the only two states in the country that include health insurance in their bills. This provides extra protection for living donors in case the Affordable Care Act goes away and gives living donors peace of mind in the present.

The battle: This bill was introduced in March of 2019. Originally, it included life insurance, disability, and long-term care insurance providers.

American Transplant Foundation thought it was necessary to include health insurance companies to the list of entities that cannot discriminate against living organ donors in Colorado.

First, the Senate voted to include health insurance. However, it was rejected by the House. We rallied our volunteers, and thanks to consistent grassroots outreach campaign, the joint House and Senate Conference Committee decided to add health insurance back. Finally, during the last two days of the legislative session, both the Senate and the House approved this critical addition.

A message from American Transplant Foundation's Executive Director, Anastasia Henry: "We applaud the Colorado legislators who made this bill the best it can be. We have worked tirelessly to ensure living organ donors are protected in a way they deserve to be. This bill complements the Living Organ Donor Support Act that we championed in 2018, and gets us a step closer to our vision of making Colorado the first state in the country where nobody dies while waiting for a transplant. Our hope is that as a result of this bill, more lives will be saved in Colorado and more states will follow this example."


A Special 'Thank You' to the Colorado Legislators Who Fought for Living Donor Rights!

Bill Sponsors:

Represenative Janet Buckner - HD 40 Aurora

Representative Lois Landgraf - HD 21

(includes the City of Fountain, and unincorporated Fort Carson, Rock Creek Park and Security-Widefield)

Senator Julie Gonzales - SD 34 Denver

Senator Dennis Hisey - SD 2 Clear Creek, El Paso, Fremont, Park, Teller

Conference Committe Members:

Representative Brianna Titone - HD 27 Jefferson County

Senator Rhonda Fields - SD 29 Arapahoe County

*And all Bill Sponsors*


Our Gratitude for YOU!

Without ATF's efforts and our hardworking advocates this legislation would have likely passed without including health insurance.

We would like to thank all of the volunteers, supporters, and advocates who contacted Representatives and Senators.

To our financial donors - your support makes this work possible and we are grateful that you care about living donors, transplant recipients, and 1,839 Coloradans who are currently waiting for a lifesaving organ transplant. 

Why Do You Ride with Team Transplant?: Video Contest!

Submit a video of why you ride with Team Transplant to earn your chance to win 4 Tickets to Comedy Works! The video with the most shares on American Transplant Foundation's Facebook page by May 28th, 2019 will win 4 Admission Tickets to Comedy Works Downtown or Comedy Works South. (Restrictions may apply.)  

Video Guidelines:

Please address the following: 

  • Introduce yourself.
  • Why are you riding with Team Transplant
  • Why should someone join Team Transplant?
  • Invite others to Join! 
  • Thank viewers and those who have donated.

Video Tips:

  • Smile and be confident! 
  • Make it emotional
  • Dress in plain clothing or Team Transplant Gear, nothing distracting (i.e patterns, neon colors, large logos, etc.) 
  • Do not record video outside or somehwere noisy (be aware of pets, fans, music, kids, etc.) 
  • No profanity or inappropriate clothing 
  • Make it person. Use our guidelines above, but use your own voice! 
  • Keep video under 1:30 minutes 

How to Submit Your Video:

After recording your video, please email completed videos to: Gabi@AmericanTransplantFoundation.org.

Make subject line: Video Submission, Why I Ride

In addition to your video, please include your name and sub-team, if applicable.

Click Here for Video Contest Rules

ACTION ALERT: Act Now to Protect Colorado Living Organ Donors

ACTION ALERT: Contact Your State Representative and Senator NOW.

Earlier today, the Colorado House of Representatives voted to remove Senate Amendment L.004 that added health insurance companies to the list of entities who cannot discriminate against living donors (House Bill 1253 – Living Organ Donor Insurance Act).
What does it mean? In case the Affordable Care Act goes away, living donors will be unprotected. This legislation is a huge opportunity to protect living donors – similar to the legislation the State of New York passed last year. Please urge Colorado legislators to do the right thing and do everything the can to protect Living Donors.
This bill is now headed to the Conference Committee and there is still time to make the change. You can also reach out to the Conference Committee Members directly:

Guidance for outreach to your legislators

When you contact your State Representative and State Senator (use this link to find out who they are) remember the following:
  • Tell them you are a constituent; legislators pay attention to those who put – and keep – them in office.
  • Communicate aspects important to you in your own words; legislators prefer not to receive standardized emails and/or calls.
  • Include something specific to your district (a personal story, something you saw/heard, why this matter is especially important to you, etc.).
  • Include a reference to House Bill 1253 – Living Organ Donor Insurance Act

For a phone call:

  1. Introduce yourself as a constituent as well as your professional affiliation or role in the community and your connection to living donation/transplant.
  2. “I am calling to show my support HB19-1253 and the L.004 amendment. I feel including health insurance companies to the list of entities who cannot discriminate is vital to the Living Organ Donor Insurance Act.”
  3. Share your living organ donation story. (optional)
  4. Thank the elected official for their time and consideration.

For an email:

Subject Line: Please Stand Up for CO Living Donors! HB-1253
Dear Senator/Representative [ENTER LAST NAME],
My name is [ENTER NAME] and I am a [INSERT PROFESSIONAL TITLE (optional)]. I am writing you today to strongly encourage you to step up and protect living donors in Colorado by keeping the amendment L004 (HB-1253) that adds health insurance companies to the list of entities who are not allowed to discriminate against living donors.
  • By rejecting an amendment L004 health insurance will be removed from this bill – which is unfair to living organ donors.
  • Yes, Affordable Care Act addresses the issue of discrimination based on pre-existing conditions, however, even if it is redundant, it makes sense to have health insurance as a part of the bill (not just life/disability/long-term care) – to give living donors a piece of mind in the present and protect them in case ACA goes away in the future.
  • The state of New York passed a similar bill last year and they did include health insurance for these reasons. Please stand up to protect Colorado Living Donors. Colorado Senate voted to include health insurance, however, it was rejected by the House this morning.
As one of your constituents, I urge you to work with the Conference Committee Members (Rep. Buckner, Rep. Landgraf, Rep. Titone) to make this bill as strong as it can be for all living donors in our state.
Thank you very much for your help.
Sincerely,
[ENTER NAME]
Thank you for fighting with us for living organ donor rights!
Questions? Please call us at 303-757-0959 or email us at Support@AmericanTransplantFoundation.org.

Introducing Super T! Helping American Transplant Foundation Save Lives

We are very excited to introduce our new mascot, Super T on National Superheroes Day! 

Super T is not only American Transplant Foundation's biggest advocate, but he is here to help you on your transplant journey. 

Have questions about living organ donation? Worried about donating or transplantation? Super T is here to help you! 

Be sure to visit AmericanTransplantFoundation.org, and follow us on Facebook and Instagram for updates on Super T, how he is helping the living organ donor community, and even Super T related contests. 

SIGN UP BELOW!


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National Pediatric Transplant Week

As National Donate Life Month wraps up next week and the last full week in April focuses on the pediatric transplant waiting list. Throughout April, Donate Life America encourages Americans to register as organ, eye, and tissue donors and to celebrate the many lives that have been saved through the Gift of Life. Now, we give special focus on the pediatric transplant waiting list.

This week, Donate Life America sheds light on pediatric transplant through patient stories and innovative care. This week we join Donate Life America to celebrate and honor donor families whose children have donated and healed lives through organ, eye, and tissue donation.

National Pediatric Transplant Week is promoted by Donate Life America partnering with United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS), the American Society of Transplantation (AST), and the American Society of Transplant Surgeons (ASTS).

To read pediatric patient stories, please visit Donate Life’s website.

Here at the American Transplant Foundation, we encourage you to register as an organ donor. Sign up for our Potential Living Organ Donor Database to receive more information about becoming a living organ donor.

Ride to Raise Awareness for Living Organ Donation

Learn more and sign up at: https://www.classy.org/campaign/elephant-rock-2019/c211717

HB19-1253 Passed in the Senate Committee Health & Human Services!

Another victory for living organ donors!

Yesterday, HB19-1253 also known as the Colorado Living Organ Donor Insurance Act passed in the Senate Health & Human Services 4-0. An additional critical amendment is included because of the American Transplant Foundation’s fight to better serve the living organ donor community.

This bill will prohibit life, disability income, and long-term care, and now, medical insurers from discriminating against living organ donors by charging higher premiums or refusing to insure them all together. By removing barriers such as potential insurance discrimination, more people can give and receive lifesaving organ transplants.

American Transplant Foundation is leading the fight to make this critical change possible. We believe it is crucial to include medical insurance providers to the list of entities who cannot discriminate against living donors. After some discussion, this amendment (L.004) was added! Thank you to UCHealth for your support on the addition of this amendment.

We’d also like to thank Representative Janet Buckner, Representative Lois Landgraf, Senator Dennis Hisey, and Senator Julie Gonzales for sponsoring this legislation and including this critical amendment. We are so grateful for your dedication to helping living donors. This legislation will save more lives in the state of Colorado, and set a precedent for more states across the U.S. who do not have such legislation in place.

We heard testimonies from a few individuals including American Transplant Foundation’s Board Member John Gutowski of University of Colorado Transplant Center, as well as our very own Executive Director, Anastasia Henry.

Please consider signing the petition in support of the Colorado Living Organ Donor Insurance Act HERE. 

Follow us on Facebook to receive up to date news on HB19-1253 and other American Transplant Foundation news! 

TKs 5K Recap: $7,000+ Raised for American Transplant Foundation!

American-Transplant-Foundation-TKThe weather might have been cold, but all we could feel was the warmth from TK’s family, friends, and supporters. We couldn’t have asked for a better morning of fitness and fun as we honored and remembered Troy Kenneth Merkle. It was beautiful to see so many come together to support TK and the American Transplant Foundation. We are so overwhelmed by the funds raised, that we had to share what an amazing success it was.

The 2nd Annual TK’s 5K raised over $7,000 for the American Transplant Foundation! These funds will directly help vulnerable transplant recipients and living donors nationwide, and right here in TK’s home of Colorado.

If you were one of the many spirited participants at TK’s 5K you can find results at https://runsbymi.wixsite.com/tks5k. (Click on the results tab across from the course map.)

Congrats to the overall male winner: Ryan Fenbert (23:16) and overall female winner: Lexi Higgins (24:24).  If you have any questions regarding the results please email us at Support@AmericanTransplantFoundation.org.

Save Lives with Team Transplant!

Team Transplant 2018
Help save more lives with Team Transplant on June 2,  2019, in Castle Rock, CO. Team Transplant is a group of living donors, transplant recipients, and supporters raising awareness and funds for the most vulnerable living donors, transplant patients, and their families. Ride with Team Transplant to prove that it’s possible to lead a healthy, active lifestyle after a transplant. Join us, fundraise, win prizes and do your part to save lives!

Learn more and sign up at https://www.classy.org/campaign/elephant-rock-2019/c211717

 

April is National Donate Life Month!

It’s National Donate Life Month! One of the most important months of the year. Established by Donate Life America, this month encourages Americans to register as organ, eye and tissue donors. We also celebrate those who have given the ultimate gift of eye, organ and tissue donation.

Team-transplant-ride-with-usThe theme of 2019’s National Donate Life Month goes hand in hand with American Transplant Foundation’s Team Transplant: Bicycles; as in “Life is a beautiful ride.” Donate Life America explains it perfectly, “Like the donation and transplantation journey, a bicycle serves as a symbol of progress, renewal and the moving circle of life.” How inspirational is that?

Donate Life America continues, “Bicycles come in all styles, shapes, and sizes, but each is comprised of the same components, essential to supporting the rider and converting their energy into motion. Similarly, organ, eye, and tissue donation offer many ways to give hope, support and strength to patients waiting, recipients and donor families.”

I don’t think we could’ve said it better ourselves.

Each and every one of us has the potential to help those who are searching for eye, organ and tissue donation. Whether that’s signing up to be a donor, volunteering at an American Transplant Foundation event, or through a monetary donation, we can all help give the gift of Life.

In honor of National Donate Life Month, please consider joining Team Transplant on June 2, 2019 to help raise funds for the American Transplant Foundation. Grab your family and friends, and cycle for life! More information can be found HERE.

Important Organ Donation Awareness Days:

National Donate Life Month Blue and Green Day 2019 is Friday, April 12, 2019.

National Pediatric Transplant Week is April 22-26, 2019.

Save Lives with Team Transplant!

Team Transplant

We’re a group of living donors, transplant recipients, and supporters raising awareness and funds for the most vulnerable living donors, transplant patients, and their families. We ride with Team Transplant to prove that it’s possible to lead a healthy, active lifestyle after a transplant. Join us, fundraise, win prizes and do your part to save lives!

Learn more and sign up at: https://www.classy.org/campaign/elephant-rock-2019/c211717

Living Organ Donor Insurance Act, Unanimous Vote!

March 28, 2019, Denver, CO — Yesterday, was another big stride for living organ donors! At the Health & Insurance Committee Meeting at the Colorado State Capitol, Sponsors Representative Buckner and Representative Landgraf presented House Bill 19-1253. The Living Organ Donor Insurance Act (HB19-1253) prohibits insurance companies from denying coverage or increasing premiums for living organ donors based solely on their status as a living donor. By removing such barriers, more people can give and receive lifesaving organ transplants.

The Health & Insurance Committee was overwhelmed that this discrimination even exists and was intrigued by the testimony given. Representative Titone of the Health & Insurance Committee recently added herself to the Bone Marrow Registry and was immediately a strong ‘Yes’ in support of this Bill, as well as many other Representatives.

The Committee heard testimony from our friends over at the National Kidney Foundation, and an organ receiver Gary who spoke on behalf of American Transplant Foundation. Because of Gary’s organ donor, he was able to receive a kidney and get off of dialysis within months of his diagnosis. Most individuals waiting for a deceased kidney donor, spend 5-7 years on dialysis while waiting. It was clear that after Gary’s testimony, the Committee was excited to help get this Bill passed. In fact, statements were given by Representatives Soper, Baisley, Beckman, Will, and Jackson, as well as Chairwoman Lontine in support of this Bill.

After testimony and further discussion, House Bill 19-1253 (The Living Organ Donor Insurance Act) passed unanimously 9-0. 

Thank you to Representative Buckner and Representative Landgraf for sponsoring this life-changing legislation.  Also, a huge ‘Thank You!’ to all of the living organ donors out there who are saving lives every day! We’re looking forward to taking this legislation to the Senate to better your life as donors.

For more information on The Living Organ Donor Insurance Act, download our fact sheet HERE.

If you are in support of The Living Organ Donor Support Act, sign our petition HERE. 

team transplant

Is getting fit part of your 2019 goals?

Team Transplant is a great way to stay fit while raising awareness for organ donation. Team Transplant will be cycling at Elephant Rock Cycling Festival in June at Castle Rock, CO.

If you aren’t local to Colorado, or you’d like to participate in another cycling event elsewhere, consider forming your own team! We can help get your team set-up.

No excuses! 2019 is the year to get fit, give back and help save lives!

For more info, visit our Team Transplant page.

To join the Team Transplant community, like us on Facebook!