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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2015 - 2016 Regular Session

MEMORANDUM

Posted: December 3, 2014 02:21 PM
From: Senator Stewart J. Greenleaf
To: All Senate members
Subject: Donate Life PA Act
 
I am reintroducing a revised Donate Life PA Act, amending the Probate, Estates and Fiduciaries Code, Title 20 of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes, to update and revise the law relating to organ and tissue donations. A version of the legislation was introduced in each of the last two sessions. Last session I introduced Senate Bill 850. The bill establishes a comprehensive framework for public education about organ and tissue donations; clarifies the methods for making anatomical donations; and updates the law to reflect the best clinical practices to support anatomical donations for transplantations.

In 1994 the General Assembly enacted Act 102 which at the time set the standard nationwide for supporting anatomical donations. However, since 2006, 46 United States jurisdictions have passed an updated version of the Uniform Anatomical Gift Act. The revised uniform law embodies clinical best practices and seeks to maximize the number of organs available for donation without burdening states and healthcare facilities. The Donate Life PA Act draws many of its provisions from the uniform act while building on existing Pennsylvania law.

In Pennsylvania, statewide education and awareness initiatives are developed and sponsored by the Organ and Tissue Donation Advisory Committee in collaboration with various nonprofit organizations and executive agencies collectively referred to as the Organ and Tissue Donor Awareness Program (OTDAP). In 2006 the Legislative Budget and Finance Committee (LBFC) was directed to evaluate the OTDAP. The LBFC made 26 recommendations to build on the success of the OTDAP, many of which have been incorporated into this legislation.

The Donate Life PA Act provides for education about organ and tissue donation in secondary schools, as well as at medical and nursing schools; incorporates provisions of the revised Uniform Anatomical Gift Act; updates provisions relating to the Governor Robert P. Casey Memorial Organ and Tissue Donation Awareness Trust Fund and the OTDAP; reinforces the priority of transplantation in the law and affirms that anatomical donations must be initially referred to a federally-designated organ procurement agency to ensure the donations are subject to regulatory oversight; and encourages the cooperation of medical examiners and coroners with organ procurement organizations.

The legislation will support Pennsylvania’s position as a national and international leader in organ and tissue donations and transplantations. With more than 8,000 patients awaiting a life saving organ transplant in Pennsylvania and thousands of others who benefit from life enhancing tissue transplants, this legislation is necessary to assist in addressing this public health crisis.



Introduced as SB180