Kidney Foundation of WNY
New York State Living Donor Support Act
New York State adopted its Living Donor Support Act at the end of 2022. The act is intended to encourage living organ donation by providing financial support to living donors and through educational initiatives.
The act will create a living donor support program under the State Department of Health to “pay the living donor expenses for living donors who are residents of the state and make a living donation in which the ultimate recipient, either directly or through paired donation is a resident of the state.”
While several states have adopted laws which provide tax credits to living donors, New York’s Living Donor Support Act is the first with provision for direct reimbursement to the donors.
"The New York State Living Donor Support Act sets a nationwide precedent for removing the financial obstacles that are in the way of living organ donors who are considering taking this altruistic action," LaVarne A. Burton, President of the American Kidney Fund, said at the time of its passage.
Reimbursement under the program will include lost wages or the economic value of sick days, travel and lodging, childcare and elder care expenses, and costs of medications and care associated with the living donation surgery that are not covered by health insurance. The law sets limits to the time and amounts considered, and the program won’t pay for costs which would otherwise be covered by other sources, such as paid medical leave, as well as “a reasonable limitation” of costs to the state.
A news release from the American Kidney Fund further explains, “When a living donor donates an organ, the recipient's health insurance typically pays for all of the living donor's medical costs associated with the transplant surgery. However, out-of-pocket expenses, such as the ones covered by the Living Donor Support Act, are not necessarily covered, leaving the donor with a significant financial burden that could dissuade them from donating an organ. Removing such barriers to living donation is sound public policy that will help increase the supply of much needed organs and save the lives of New Yorkers on the organ transplant waiting list.”
The law also includes a requirement that a nephrologist or primary care practitioner treating certain chronic kidney disease patients provide transplant education materials.
The bill, introduced by Senator Gustavo Rivera and Assemblymember Richard Gottfried, passed both houses of the New York State legislature with strong bipartisan support and was signed by Gov. Kathy Hochul.