Senator Jose Peralta recognizes the first Organ Donor Enrollment Day and announces legislation to expand medical assistance to include kidney transplantation for undocumented New Yorkers
State Senator Jose Peralta (D-East Elmhurst) today recognized the first annual Organ Donor Enrollment Day organized by LiveOnNY and unveiled a bill to expand public medical assistance for kidney transplants to include undocumented New Yorkers. The bill, S.6056A, was introduced in the State Senate. Currently, some undocumented New Yorkers receive biweekly emergency dialysis treatment at medical facilities across the State, as is mandated for hospitals that receive Medicare funding. However, undocumented New Yorkers with end-stage renal disease are not eligible for public coverage for kidney transplants.
At the present time, only Illinois extends this care to undocumented immigrants. “It is time for New York State to become a national leader on this issue,” said Senator Peralta. “Morally, this is the right thing to do, and financially this is the right thing to do,” he added. “After the first year following a kidney transplant, its annual cost is only a third of the cost of regular dialysis treatment.”
The bill would require that an undocumented New Yorker undergo two years of emergency dialysis treatment in New York in order to qualify for the kidney transplant.
According to a study statistics by the Division of Nephrology of Elmhurst Hospital, a medical facility located in the Senator’s district, paying for a kidney transplant could translate into savings of $321,000 for each patient, based on a typical life expectancy of eight years for a person undergoing dialysis treatment. The study “Kidney Transplantation in Undocumented Immigrants with ESRD (end-stage renal disease): A Policy Whose Time has Come?” notes that Medicare spends about $110,000 for a kidney transplant and the first year of follow-up care. The study further states that after the first year following transplantation, Medicare typically spends $27,000 per year, per patient for medication that prevents the body’s rejection of a new organ. According to the United States Renal Data System, Medicare spends an average of $72,000 per patient receiving dialysis.
“LiveOnNY commends State Senator Jose Peralta’s efforts to advance organ donation and transplantation efforts that address the health needs of all state residents, including equal access to transplant services in order to save more lives,” said Helen Irving, President and CEO of LiveOnNY, the , the premier not-for-profit organ donor organization in New York City, has helped save 20,000 lives through organ donation over the past 37 years.
“We are trying our best to sign up as many New Yorkers as possible for the Donate Life Registry, as our City and State are in a dire need for organ donors,” said Senator Peralta. “LiveOnNY’s Organ Donor Enrollment Day will save lives by signing up more New Yorkers to be registered organ donors. When it comes to organ donation, New York is in a state of emergency.”
“All New Yorkers, regardless of their immigration status, should have access to life-saving kidney transplants, if medically necessary,” said Assemblyman Francisco Moya (D-Jackson Heights). “Your immigration status should not determine whether you live or die. It’s the moral thing to do and the economical thing to do. I commend Senator Jose Peralta for his commitment to this critical issue.”
Today, Senator Jose Peralta, Assemblymember Moya and Councilmember Constantinides recognized the first annual Organ Donor Enrollment Day with the common goal of enrolling as many New Yorkers as possible as registered organ donors.
Councilmember Costa Constantinides said, “We are in a public health crisis as New York State ranks in last place nationwide in percent of residents who are registered organ donors. Every 18 hours, someone in New York State dies waiting for an organ. LiveOnNY’s Organ Donor Enrollment Day will help us spread the word about the need for more organ donors and recruit people to register. I commend Senator Peralta and LiveOnNY for their dedication to this important issue.”
“The Salvadoran Renal Foundation is committed to educating and helping prevent Chronic Kidney Disease among the Hispanic population in the US. We have observed the increasing number of patients who need a kidney transplant and extended waiting list for a calaveric donor organ. We are delighted to join LiveOnNY and Senator Peralta efforts to raise awareness in increasing the organ donor registry in New York,” said Juan Guerra, Public Relations Coordinator of the Salvadoran Renal Foundation.
In his efforts to increase the number of eligible New Yorkers to become registered organ donors, Senator Peralta introduced legislation in July (S. 6022) that would require certain state forms and applications to include a space allowing New Yorkers to sign up for the Donate Life Registry. This particular bill would increase opportunities for New Yorkers to register as organ donors in the state that ranks last nationwide per capita.