Virginia receives ‘C’ ranking for protections offered to living organ donors
As the state continues to struggle with organ shortages, new legislation hopes to reduce some barriers to transplants
The American Kidney Fund gave Virginia a “C” ranking this year for its available protections for living organ donors, a valuable source of transplants as Virginia — like many states — struggles to match supply with demand. However, legislation that’s awaiting Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s signature could improve Virginia’s grade in the future.
According to the report, the state has currently codified two of seven legal protections for donors, including tax deductions for out-of-pocket expenses associated with the procedure and up to 30 days of paid leave for state employees. But Virginia has yet to pass other policies that transplant organizations say are important for encouraging donation, including mandatory paid leave from private employers.
“Most people whose kidneys fail really want a transplant and only about one in five end up getting one in any given year,” said Holly Bode, vice president of government affairs at the American Kidney Fund. While deceased donations increased nationwide last year, there are still close to 2,600 Virginians on the waitlist for an organ, according to the organization — a life-or-death wait for many patients.
The Virginia Mercury is a new, nonpartisan, nonprofit news organization covering Virginia government and policy.
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