NKF of Michigan Passes New Legislation to Protect Living Donors

Michigan Passes New Legislation to Protect Living Donors

~Statement from Linda Smith-Wheelock, President & CEO of the National Kidney Foundation of Michigan on passage of Living Donor Protection Act~


(November 8, 2023 – Ann Arbor, MI) Today, the National Kidney Foundation (NKF) of Michigan commends Governor Gretchen Whitmer and the Michigan Legislature for their actions in protecting living organ donors and promoting living organ donation across the state. The Living Donor Protection Act prevents insurers from denying, limiting coverage, or charging higher premiums to living organ donors solely based on their status as a living donor. This landmark legislation ensures that the selfless act of giving the gift of life through organ donation will not result in undue financial burden or discrimination against donors. Michigan is now the 32nd state in the United States to enact such crucial protections for living organ donors, recognizing the importance of removing barriers to donation and ensuring access to life-saving transplants.

Living donor protections alleviate one of the obstacles to organ donation and provide an opportunity to increase the number of living donors statewide. The Living Donor Protection Act is a critical step in addressing the organ shortage crisis, as it encourages more individuals to consider living donation as a viable option. In Michigan, there are currently 1,975 people waiting for a kidney. With nearly 100,000 Americans waiting for a kidney transplant and countless others in need of various organs, this legislation promotes a culture of compassion.

“I appreciate the efforts of our state legislators to move this important bill through successfully so that living donors will be more likely to donate to someone whose kidneys have failed,” said Voices for Kidney Health advocate Janine Diebel, who played a pivotal role in the passage of this legislation alongside her fellow Michigan advocates. Advocate Carole Davenport also celebrated this win saying, "Real is the constant struggle to achieve better treatment outcomes for a disease that reaches well past the patient and their suffering, but also impacts those they love, day in and day out. LDPA literally puts Michigan on the map in helping to greatly address these issues.” Linda Smith-Wheelock, NKFM President & CEO, said, “We’re excited that Michigan has joined the other trailblazing states to pass the LDPA. Living donors are heroes in our eyes and we’re thrilled to have them protected in this way.”

The National Kidney Foundation of Michigan warmly thanks the legislative champions of the Living Donor Protection Act and our Voices for Kidney Health Advocates, who worked tirelessly to pass this legislation. Your voices made the difference!

To learn more about NKF, kidney disease, and how to become an advocate, go to Voices for Kidney Health at voices.kidney.org.

Kidney Disease Facts

In the United States, 37 million adults are estimated to have chronic kidney disease—and approximately 90 percent don’t know they have it.  1 in 3 adults in the U.S. are at risk for chronic kidney disease.  Risk factors for kidney disease include: diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, and family history. People of Black or African American, Hispanic or Latino, American Indian or Alaska Native, Asian American, or Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander descent are at increased risk for developing the disease. Blacks or African Americans are 4 times more likely than White Americans to have kidney failure.  Hispanics are 1.3 times more likely than non-Hispanics to have kidney failure.

Approximately 785,000 Americans have irreversible kidney failure and need dialysis or a kidney transplant to survive. More than 555,000 of these patients receive dialysis to replace kidney function and 230,000 live with a transplant. Nearly 100,000 Americans are on the waitlist for a kidney transplant right now.  Depending on where a patient lives, the average wait time for a kidney transplant can be upwards of three to seven years.

About National Kidney Foundation Living Organ Donation Resources:

THE BIG ASK: THE BIG GIVE platform, which provides nationwide outreach, is designed to increase kidney transplantation through training and tools that help patients and families find a living donor. It includes direct patient and caregiver support through our toll-free help line 855-NKF-CARES, peer mentoring from a fellow kidney patient or a living donor, online communities, an advocacy campaign to remove barriers to donation, and a multi-media public awareness campaign. All resources are free and designed to teach kidney patients, or their advocates, how to make a “big ask” to their friends, loved ones, or community to consider making a “big give,” a living organ donation. www.kidney.org/livingdonation.

About the National Kidney Foundation

The National Kidney Foundation is revolutionizing the fight to save lives by eliminating preventable kidney disease, accelerating innovation for the dignity of the patient experience, and dismantling structural inequities in kidney care, dialysis, and transplantation. For more information about NKF, visit www.kidney.org.