Ambassadors Share Donation Information with NY Lawmakers
Volunteer and staff ambassadors from the Kidney Foundation of WNY and ConnectLife joined Donate Life New York State (NYS) for legislative education activities during the first week of May. Each year, volunteers speak with lawmakers about issues which impact the growth of the New York State Donate Life Registry and increase the availability of organs and tissues for transplant.
Donate Life NYS identified two key priorities for the 2023 legislative session: the addition of a “close friend” provision to the state’s anatomical gift law; and the inclusion of donor registration opportunities in electronic health record portals.
People from around the state who have a personal connection to donation met with elected representatives and legislative staffers. This year’s legislative education sessions included remote video conferences as well as in-person meetings in Albany.
Adding a “close friend” provision to New York’s anatomical gift law would allow a close friend to make a vital and lifesaving gift on behalf of a deceased individual who has not documented their decision to be an organ, eye, and tissue donor. New York is among only seven states that do not include close friends in the classes of persons authorized to make an anatomical gift. State Senator Gustavo Rivera introduced a bill (S6690) on May 5 to make this change.
Including enrollment opportunities in electronic health record products would be an extension of the ongoing “Doorways to Donation” strategy, creating new and convenient opportunities for residents to enroll as organ, eye, and tissue donors. In addition to DMV transactions, New York State has added a donor designation question to voter registration forms, the state’s online health insurance marketplace, several professional licensing applications, hunting and fishing licenses, Higher Education Services Corporation transactions, and MyBenefits.gov transactions. These innovative “Doorways to Donation” have generated over one million registrations to date.