Press release

American Kidney Fund Praises Mississippi for Passing Living Donor Protection Legislation

The American Kidney Fund (AKF) commends Mississippi for making living organ donor protections state law with HB 1213, signed on April 17 by Gov. Tate Reeves.

ROCKVILLE, Md. (April 18, 2024) – The American Kidney Fund (AKF) commends Mississippi for making living organ donor protections state law with HB 1213, signed on April 17 by Gov. Tate Reeves. The legislation will go into effect July 1 and bans life, disability and long-term care insurers from discriminating against living organ donors by refusing to insure them, limiting their coverage or forcing them to pay a different rate or premium due to their status as a living organ donor. 

The bill was authored and sponsored by state Rep. Oscar Denton. AKF conducted grassroots efforts in Mississippi to mobilize support for the bill and worked closely with Rep. Denton on the bill's language. By enacting HB 1213, Mississippi becomes the 33rd state in recent years to secure these critical protections for living organ donors, thanks to AKF's efforts. 

"Donating an organ to save someone's life is incredibly selfless, and those who make this decision should be rewarded, not penalized," said LaVarne A. Burton, AKF President and CEO. "We are grateful to Rep. Denton for authoring this legislation and for his leadership on this important issue, as well as to everyone else who advocated for passage of this bill. Their hard work and dedication will reduce the barriers people face in becoming living organ donors and ultimately save lives." 

Increasing living donor protections is an integral 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. Without 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 HB 1213 signed into law, Mississippi's grade improves from a C to a B. 

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.

Over 103,000 Americans are currently on the organ transplant waiting list and over 91,000 of them, or 88%, are waiting for a kidney. In Mississippi, over 460 people are currently on the kidney transplant waiting list. Of the 28,144 kidney transplants performed in the U.S. in 2023, more than 1 in 4 – 6,290 – were made possible by living organ donors. In Mississippi, 18 of the 160 kidney transplants performed in 2023 were from living donors. 

AKF provides long-term financial assistance that makes transplants and post-transplant care possible for low-income dialysis patients. In 2023, AKF grants helped 1,615 people nationwide receive kidney transplants — roughly 6% 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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