ROCKVILLE, Md. (May 15, 2023) – The American Kidney Fund (AKF) applauds Nevada for making living organ donor protections state law with SB 132, signed into law May 10 by Gov. Joe Lombardo. The Living Donor Protection Act, which will go into effect Jan. 1, 2024, prohibits life, disability and long-term care insurers from discriminating against living organ donors by refusing to insure them, limiting their coverage or charging them a different rate or premium based solely on their status as a living organ donor.
The bill was authored and sponsored by state Sen. Julie Pazina and Assemblymembers Philip P.K. O'Neill, Howard Watts and Steve Yeager. AKF submitted a letter of support and helped mobilize support for the bill in Nevada. By enacting SB 132, Nevada joins 29 other states that have passed similar legislation in recent years ensuring living organ donors have these critical protections, thanks to AKF's leadership on this issue.
"No one should be penalized for making the selfless decision to give the gift of life to another human being," said LaVarne A. Burton, AKF President and CEO. "This law will reduce barriers for people who are interested in donating an organ, and could ultimately help save the lives of Nevadans who are waiting for an organ transplant."
Increasing living donor protections is a critical part of AKF's policy agenda. AKF's State of the States: Living Donor Protection Report Card measures seven types of legislation states should enact to provide protections for living organ donors and encourage living donations. In the absence of federal legislation to protect living donors, there is an uneven patchwork of protections across the nation, with some states providing no protections at all. The average grade for the U.S. is a C. With Nevada's SB 132 signed into law, its grade improves from an F to a D.
Most transplanted organs are from deceased donors, but 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. Transplants from living donors generally present fewer complications than deceased donor transplants and living donor organs typically survive longer than deceased donor organs.
There are nearly 104,000 Americans on the organ transplant waiting list and over 90,000 of them, or 87%, are waiting for a kidney. In Nevada, 270 people are currently on the kidney transplant waiting list. Of the 26,310 kidney transplants performed in the U.S. in 2022, approximately 1 out of 5 – 5,864 – were made possible by living organ donors. In Nevada, 7 of the 141 kidney transplants performed in 2022 were from living donors.
AKF provides long-term financial assistance that makes transplants and post-transplant care possible for low-income dialysis patients. In 2022, AKF grants helped 1,767 people nationwide receive kidney transplants — roughly 7% of all kidney transplants performed in the United States last year. AKF's program helps post-transplant patients for their full insurance plan year, ensuring continuity of care.