Press release

American Kidney Fund Thanks the Kentucky General Assembly and Governor for Passing Law to Protect Some Living Organ Donors

Rockville, Md. (May 1, 2020) – The American Kidney Fund (AKF) is grateful to lawmakers and Governor Andy Beshear for the passage of HB46, a bill spearheaded by AKF that would provide paid leave to state employees who donate an organ. The bill is the first piece of living organ donor legislation of any kind enacted in the Commonwealth of Kentucky.

HB46, introduced by Rep. Jerry Miller, allows full-time state employees to take 240 hours of paid leave to donate an organ and 40 hours of paid leave to donate bone marrow.

Though the majority of transplanted organs come from deceased donors, living organ donations have been increasing in recent years. Transplants from living donors generally have fewer complications than deceased-donor transplants and a longer survival of the donor organ. With a living donor, transplant candidates get off the waiting list faster and have flexibility in scheduling a surgery date, instead of being on call and ready to go to the hospital immediately when a deceased donor organ becomes available. Living donor transplants also increase the existing organ supply, allowing someone else on the waiting list to receive an organ no longer needed by the living donor transplant recipient.

More than 112,000 Americans are on the waiting list for an organ transplant, including 97,000 who are waiting for a kidney. In Kentucky, more than 750 people are on the kidney transplant waiting list. Last year, 6,867 living donor kidney transplants were performed in the United States, including 43 in Kentucky. Dialysis and kidney transplantation are the only two treatment options available to individuals with end-stage renal disease (ESRD or kidney failure).

"We commend the Kentucky General Assembly and Governor Beshear for enacting a paid leave protection for state employees who selflessly become living organ donors," said LaVarne A. Burton, AKF president and CEO. "Removing barriers to living organ donation is good public policy and we will continue to encourage all states to offer protections to those who choose to give the gift of life."

AKF is a leader in advocating for protections for living organ donors. In 2019, AKF successfully spearheaded legislation in nine states to protect living organ donors from insurance discrimination, provide guaranteed job-protected leave and other incentives to remove obstacles to living donation. In addition to Kentucky, AKF is working to pass similar legislation in 14 other states in 2020.

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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