| Dialysis | Kidney disease | NKF news | Transplant

Making it Easier to Say “Yes” to Saving a Life–The Living Donor Circle of Excellence

January 26, 2023, 10:26am EST

Four business people reviewing files together

As of December 2022, the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN) reported more than 89,0001 people on the kidney transplant waitlist. While more than 25,0002 kidney transplants were performed in 2022, thousands still desperately hope for a second chance. Sadly, around twelve people on the list die each day without ever getting that opportunity. 

These alarming statistics are tough to hear but don't despair. NKF is working hard to change the American transplant system. One way we're doing that is by partnering with AST to offer a program called the Living Donor Circle of Excellence to employers who facilitate living donation by removing one of the most significant obstacles to it–the financial. 

What are the barriers to living kidney donations?

Deciding to donate a kidney is a life-changing decision for the donor and the potential recipient. However, there are many things to consider before deciding one way or the other. 

These barriers include:

  • Overall health
  • Family responsibilities
  • Physical challenges after the surgery

While these pose a barrier to donating a kidney, one of the most significant reasons people decide against it is financial. A donor will likely have to travel for the surgery and take time off work. Without a paycheck, many simply can't afford to donate.

Learn more about the decision to donate.

How employers remove the financial hurdle

Companies involved in the Living Donor Circle of Excellence help mitigate financial barriers by implementing an HR policy that pays employees at least 80% of their salary for four or more weeks of recovery time should they become living donors.

By providing this support, employers:

  • Reduce a significant barrier to becoming a living donor
  • Increase the number of transplants
  • Raise awareness about living donation

Employers also demonstrate their commitment to saving lives through organ donation. 

"Organ donation is one of the most generous gifts that one person can give to another. Our firm proudly supports this life-saving act by removing financial and employment barriers from any member of our staff who seeks to donate," said Arthur P. Pasquarella, Executive Vice President & Chief Operating Officer of Equus Capital Partners. "By providing this support, and joining the Living Donor Circle of Excellence, we hope to educate our staff about living donation and empower them to take on the selfless act of becoming living donors. We hope that this small step for our firm will help get more people off the waitlist and increase organ donation overall."

Do you already have an HR policy that supports living donors? Apply for Membership.

Learn more about the Living Donor Circle of Excellence

Large group of professionals gathered around computer to learn

As an employer, you may worry about the cost of your new living donation leave policy, but the average expense is incredibly low. For every 100,000 employees, an average of four will become living donors. The impact, however, is immeasurable for those who give and receive the life-changing gift.

Don't just take our word for it. Here's what three more Circle members have to say:

"We are honored to join the AST Circle of Excellence," said Scott Requadt, CEO of Talaris Therapeutics. "It affirms our company's commitment to enhancing the lives of those impacted by organ donation and to transform the standard of care for kidney transplant recipients."

"There is no greater act of generosity than the gift of organ donation. These courageous donors should be met with support from their employers as they navigate the process and recovery, which is what led DaVita to adopt a policy allowing significant paid leave and access to supportive services," said Dr. Jeff Giullian, chief medical officer for DaVita. "To address the serious, national shortage of viable organs for transplantation, we invite other employers to consider adopting a similar policy."

"The University of Kentucky is a proud member of the Living Donor Circle of Excellence," said Elizabeth Powell, Transplant Outreach Manager at The University of Kentucky. "Our organ donor leave policy is a testament to our support of living donation opportunities."

Request more information about the Living Donor Circle of Excellence

More resources to share with your employees

While your business works on creating a policy that offers potential living donors the support they need to give this selfless gift, you can still positively impact the kidney community by sharing educational resources with your employees.

Educational living donor resources:

  1. Become a kidney health advocate
  2. Learn what donating is like from a living donor
  3. Take our Living Donor online course

Not an employer? Share this article with your leadership team and encourage them to pursue a Living Donor Circle of Excellence membership.

Works Cited

1Data - OPTN. Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network. (2022, December 5). Retrieved December 12, 2022, from https://optn.transplant.hrsa.gov/data

2Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network. (2023, January 10). OPTN. 2022 organ transplants again set annual records; organ donation from deceased donors continues 12-year record-setting trend. Retrieved January 26, 2023, from https://optn.transplant.hrsa.gov/news/2022-organ-transplants-again-set-a...

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