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.
About the American Kidney Fund
The American Kidney Fund (AKF) fights kidney disease on all fronts as the nation’s leading kidney nonprofit. AKF works on behalf of the 37 million Americans living with kidney disease, and the millions more at risk, with an unmatched scope of programs that support people wherever they are in their fight against kidney disease—from prevention through transplant. With programs that address early detection, disease management, financial assistance, clinical research, innovation and advocacy, no kidney organization impacts more lives than AKF. One of the nation’s top-rated nonprofits, AKF invests 97 cents of every donated dollar in programs, earning the highest 4-Star rating from Charity Navigator for 20 years in a row as well as the Platinum Seal of Transparency from Candid, formerly GuideStar.