American Society of Nephrology leads renewed call for US congress to protect living donors

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Members of the American Society of Nephrology (ASN) and 21 organisations representing the kidney community—patients and healthcare professionals alike—recently met with their corresponding members of the US Congress to call for the protection of living organ donors by advancing the Living Donor Protection Act.

As per an ASN press release, while a kidney transplant is the optimal and most cost-effective therapy for the majority of people with kidney failure, a national shortage of donor organs means that 13 Americans currently die every day while waiting on the nearly 100,000-person kidney transplant waitlist.

Increasing living donation is important for expanding the availability kidney transplants, according to the ASN, yet one in four organ donors report difficulty securing life, disability and long-term care insurance—among other barriers—after donating an organ.

Sponsored by US representatives Jerry Nadler and Jaime Herrera Beutler, with senators Kirsten Gillibrand and Tom Cotton, the Living Donor Protection Act (HR 1255/S 377) ensures insurance companies offering life, disability and long-term care plans do not deny or limit coverage, or raise premiums based on an individual’s status as a living organ donor.

According to the ASN, the act also codifies that living organ donors can take Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) time to recover from donation surgery and maintain job security.

“Congress must support people with kidney diseases by removing barriers to living donors and increasing access to kidney transplantation,” the release states. “Advancing the Living Donor Protection Act is an important first step for increasing access to this important therapy.”

The ASN has encouraged members of the kidney community to contact their members of Congress and “urge them to take action to support living donors” here.

Other kidney community organisations that have joined the ASN in this effort include the American Association of Kidney Patients (AAKP), American Nephrology Nurses Association (ANNA), American Society of Diagnostic and Interventional Nephrology (ASDIN), American Society of Transplantation (AST), National Kidney Foundation (NKF), and several others.

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