American Kidney Fund Applauds Maryland Legislature’s Introduction of Bill to Protect Living Organ Donors

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

ROCKVILLE, Md. (February 11, 2019) —The American Kidney Fund (AKF) is grateful to Maryland Delegate Eric Luedtke and Senator Brian Feldman for sponsoring HB1284/SB705, legislation that could help increase the availability of organs for transplant from living donors.

If passed, this bill would prevent insurance companies from discriminating against living organ donors by charging higher premiums or refusing to insure them altogether. The bill also provides job protected leave through the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) to people who chose to make this lifesaving gift. 

While most transplanted organs are from deceased donors, patients may also receive organs from living donors. Living donation offers an alternative for individuals awaiting transplantation from a deceased donor and increases the existing organ supply. More than 6,400 living-donor kidney transplants were performed last year in the United States, including 170 in Maryland.  Kidneys are the most common organ transplanted from living donors, followed by liver and lung.

Nationwide, more than 114,000 Americans are on the waiting list for organ transplants, including nearly 97,000 who are waiting for a kidney. In Maryland, 2,500 people are on the kidney transplant waiting list.

“This bill sends an unequivocal message of support to living organ donors and all those who may be considering making this lifesaving gift in Maryland,” said LaVarne A. Burton, president and chief executive officer of the American Kidney Fund. “Removing barriers and encouraging living donation is simply good public policy.”

AKF encourages all Maryland lawmakers to support this important bill.