Colorado Helps Pave the Way for More Living Organ Donors
COLORADO – (May 15, 2018) – Tomorrow, at 4:30 p.m., Governor John Hickenlooper will sign the Colorado Living Donor Support Act - HB1202. This legislation will remove a significant barrier for living kidney and liver donors who may not step forward if they are afraid to lose their job or income during their recovery period after surgery. It makes Colorado one of the first states in the country to subsidize paid leave for living organ donors by providing a tax credit for employers.
There are 2,300 people on the waitlist for an organ transplant in Colorado. 96% of those individuals are in need of a liver or kidney, both of which can be donated by a living person.
Studies have found that the average American experienced nearly $2,000 in lost wages when they donate a kidney, and more Coloradans die each year of kidney and liver failure than all the homicides in the state combined.
Also, recent studies have shown that many transplant patients won’t talk about living donation because they are concerned that their family members and friends will lose income and experience financial hardship as a result of living organ donation.
The American Transplant Foundation introduced HB-1202 in February 2018 and has lead grassroots advocacy efforts to ensure its successful passage. Until now, the only legislation in place to support living donors in Colorado applied only to state employees and provided them with just two days of paid leave specific to organ donation.
Bill Background: The Living Donor Support Act would provide up to 10 days of paid time off to living organ donors in the State of Colorado. Employees who receive less than $80,000 annually are eligible.
The Act would provide a tax credit of 35% to employers granting paid time off to employees becoming living organ donors. In addition, employers will receive a tax credit for the cost of temporary replacement help. The bill will take effect on January 1st, 2020.
Senator Bob Gardner said, “Living organ donation is not only the most effective way to eliminate the organ transplant waitlist in Colorado, but is also the most economically beneficial way to address many chronic health issues, particularly kidney disease. On average, for each
transplant patient taken off of dialysis, Medicare saves over $500,000 over the course of ten years.”
State Representative Alec Garnett said, “Living organ donors should not face significant financial hardship or risk losing their jobs because they are willing to give the Gift of Life. This bill will benefit the many in need of a lifesaving transplant, and it will allow those donating an organ to take time off to recover without financial stress.”
Altruistic kidney donor Sara Martin said, “I think there are a lot of people that would become a living donor, but without the security of knowing their employer is supportive, they feel they can't. With this certainty, it could shift some potential living donors from ‘no, I can't’ to ‘yes, I can.’”
Anastasia Henry, American Transplant Foundation’s Executive Director, said “Living organ donation is not only the most effective way to eliminate the organ transplant waitlist in Colorado, but it also the most economically beneficial way to address kidney disease. Our hope is that this legislation will bring us a step closer to making Colorado the first state where nobody dies while waiting for a transplant.”
May 15, 2018
NEVER GIVE UP:
COLORADO LIVING DONOR SUPPORT ACT PASSED THE STATE SENATE!
The first bill to provide specific benefits to living organ donors in the state of Colorado was passed by our small, but mighty team. This was not an easy bill to pass and there were many hurdles to cross- but thanks to our dedicated staff, Board Members, volunteers, and many supporters, we were able to achieve the seemingly impossible!
The Colorado Living Donor Support Act will take effect in 2020, providing time for our legislators to plan its implementation and work it into the state budget.
Many of you personally reached out to your district Senators in support of this critical piece of legislation and your voices were heard! Please take a moment to reach out and thank those Senators who voted in favor of this bill.
You can click here to locate your district Senator on the map and find their contact information below:
Senator Aguilar, District 32, Voted YES
Senator Baumgardner, District 8, Voted NO
Senator Cooke, District 13, Voted NO
Senator Coram, District 6, Voted YES
Senator Court, District 31, Voted NO
Senator Crowder, District 35, Voted YES
Senator Donovan, District 5, Voted NO
Senator Fenberg, District 18, Voted NO
Senator Fields, District 29, Voted NO
Senator Garcia, District 3, Voted NO
Senator Gardner, District 12, Voted YES
Senator Grantham, District 2, Voted YES
Senator Guzman, District 34, Voted YES
Senator Hill, District 10, Voted NO
Senator Holbert, District 30, Voted NO
Senator Jahn, District 20, Voted YES
Senator Jones, District 17, Voted YES
Senator Kagan, District 26, Voted NO
Senator Kefalas, District 14, Voted YES
Senator Kerr, District 22, Voted YES
Senator Lambert, District 9, Voted YES
Senator Lundberg, District 15, Voted NO
Senator Marble, District 23, Voted NO
Senator Martinez-Humenik, District 24, Voted YES
Senator Merrifield, District 11, Voted YES
Senator Moreno, District 21, Voted NO
Senator Neville, District 16, Voted NO
Senator Priola, District 25, Voted YES
Senator Scott, District 7, Voted YES
Senator Smallwood, District 4, Voted YES
Senator Sonnenberg, District 1, Voted NO
Senator Tate, District 27, Voted YES
Senator Todd, District 28, Voted YES
Senator Williams, District 33, Voted NO
Senator Zenzinger, District 19, Voted YES
Thank you to everyone who supported us through this long process and to the Senators who recognize the courage and lifesaving efforts of Colorado's living donors. We could not have done it without you!
May 8, 2018
COLORADO LIVING DONOR SUPPORT ACT
Last year, more Coloradans died or became too sick to remain on the transplant wait list than the number of Coloradans who died as a result of homicide. Please visit the Colorado Organ Donation FAQs page for additional statistics on organ donation in our state.
Help us support living donors by making the process less of a burden.
Currently, only Colorado state employees may take up to two days of paid leave per fiscal year specifically for organ donation.
The ability to get paid time off work is an enormous barrier for living donors. The loss of income and fear of losing their job has deterred many kidney and liver living donors.
This bill will raise awareness and encourage both directed and non-directed living donation, encouraging and helping individuals to donate lifesaving organ without suffering financial hardship as a result of the donation.
An employee donating an organ will be granted paid leave not exceeding 10 working days or the hourly equivalent and for the cost of temporary replacement help, if any, during an employee's leave of absence period.
For any employer granting paid time off to living organ donors in the state of Colorado, employers shall be entitled to a tax credit of 35% of the employee’s regular salary for up to 10 business days. Employees who receive less than $80,000 annually are eligible.
1. Support living donors by SIGNING THE PETITION
2. Contact your state legislators
3. Spread the word on social media, sample tweets:
- Help support organ donation by supporting living donors #YestoHB1202 #ColoradoLivingDonors #coleg
- If just 1 out of 1,100 adult Coloradans became living donors, the waitlist for kidney and liver transplants in the state would be eradicated. #YestoHB1202 #ColoradoLivingDonors #coleg
4. If you would like to become an advocate please email us: firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you for supporting the bill and helping to make Colorado the first state where nobody dies while waiting for a transplant!
Children's Hospital Colorado
Chris Klug Foundation
NKF Serving Colorado, New Mexico, Montana, and Wyoming
Presbyterian/St. Luke’s Medical Center – Transplant Center
UCHealth Transplant Center
READ THE BILL: HB 1202 One Pager
February 22, 2018
SUPPORT LEGISLATION TO IMPROVE ORGAN TRANSPLANTATION
The American Transplant Foundation is proactively leading the way in shaping, and promoting, positive legislative initiatives that will eliminate the gap between the need for organs and their supply. We need the public's support and involvement, so please get involved with these upcoming initiatives:
Health insurance initiative: Our goal is to reform health insurance to provide better, and longer, after-care coverage for transplant recipients requiring long-term medication and medical care.
Support Anti-Rejection Medication Coverage Bill: After receiving a kidney transplant, a patient must take immunosuppressive drugs for the rest of their life, at a cost of $19,000 per year. Without these drugs, the body will reject the organ and the patient will have to go on dialysis. Under current law, Medicare covers these medication costs for three years only, but will cover much higher dialysis costs – $77,000 per year – indefinitely. Click here to learn about current legislation and sign our petition to Congress.
Organ and donor registration initiative: Through an ATF driven initiative, the Colorado Department of Revenue has printed an organ and tissue donor registration form in the State Income Tax booklet, providing Colorado residents an easy, and annual, opportunity to register as a donor. We are currently working with the State towards integrating an easy check-off into the form that will facilitate an even more simplified means of registering.
Clarify elimination of the family veto: Our goal is to clarify the role of a deceased organ donor's family when it comes to family veto rights regarding the recovery of organs from the donor.
Legalize private organ exchange: Our goal is to achieve policy that will legalize arranged organ donations between consenting parties in America.
Support stem cell research: Our goal is to support and represent policy that furthers stem cell research because advancements can lead to increased organ supplies.
Expand payments allowable under NOTA: Our goal is to reform policy to expand the allowable payments to support organ transplants.