Press release

American Kidney Fund Commends Ohio for Enacting Protections for Living Organ Donors

AKF applauds the state of Ohio for signing H.B. 188 into law, which prohibits life, disability and long-term care insurers from discriminating against living organ donors by denying them coverage or charging them higher premiums solely due to their status as organ donors.

ROCKVILLE, Md. (April 8, 2022) — The American Kidney Fund (AKF) applauds Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine for signing into law important protections for living organ donors in the state. H.B. 188 prohibits life, disability and long-term care insurers from discriminating against living organ donors by denying them coverage or charging them higher premiums solely due to their status as organ donors.

AKF worked closely with state Rep. Brian Lampton (R-73), one of the cosponsors of the bill, to move H.B. 188 through the Ohio General Assembly and is thankful for his commitment to encouraging living organ donation. AKF is leading the nationwide effort to pass living donor protections at the state level. In passing H.B. 188, Ohio becomes the 22nd state to enact living donor protections in recent years, thanks to legislation spearheaded by AKF.

"Living donor protections, like those in Ohio's H.B. 188, ultimately save lives by removing barriers to living organ donation and making more transplants possible," said LaVarne A. Burton, AKF President and CEO. "By prohibiting discriminatory practices against living organ donors, we hope to increase the number of kidneys and other organs available for Ohioans awaiting transplantation."

Increasing living donor protections is a cornerstone 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.

Signing H.B. 188 into law moves Ohio's Report Card grade up from a C to a B. The overall grade average for the United States is 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 more than 106,000 Americans on the organ transplant waiting list and 92,000 of them, or 87%, are waiting for a kidney. In Ohio, 2,262 people are currently on the kidney transplant waiting list. Of the 25,490 kidney transplants performed in the U.S. in 2021, about 1 out of 5 – 5,971 – were made possible by living organ donors. In Ohio, 240 of 1,243 kidney transplants performed in 2021 were from living donors. AKF is hopeful that the protections in H.B. 188 will make it possible for a greater number of Ohioans to become living donors.

AKF provides long-term financial assistance that makes transplants and post-transplant care possible for low-income dialysis patients. In 2021, AKF grants helped 1,889 people nationwide receive kidney transplants — 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.

About the American Kidney Fund

The American Kidney Fund (AKF) fights kidney disease on all fronts as the nonprofit with the greatest direct impact on people with kidney disease. AKF works on behalf of 1 in 7 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. AKF fights for kidney health for all through programs that address early detection, disease management, financial assistance, clinical research, innovation and advocacy. AKF is one of the nation’s top-rated nonprofits, investing 97 cents of every donated dollar in programs, and holds the highest 4-Star rating from Charity Navigator for 21 consecutive years and the Platinum Seal of Transparency from Candid, formerly known as GuideStar. 

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