WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Department of Veterans Affairs implemented a final rule, on July 1, 2022, describing the authority to provide support for donation procedures and related care to those who donate an organ or bone marrow to Veterans for transplants.
Live donor support includes the following at no cost to the live donor, both in-house and in the community:
- Initial screening, tests and studies necessary to qualify an interested individual as a live donor for a specific Veteran.
- Medical care and services related to the solid organ or bone marrow donation procedure.
- Post-donation follow-up, to include medical care and services required to address reasonably foreseeable donor health complications resulting directly from the donation procedure for the period specified in the regulation.
- Necessary travel and temporary lodging expenses, including those of one needed attendant or support person for the live donor, at rates prescribed in the regulation.
The final rule also highlights the informed consent rights of live donors, including the right to revoke their consent at any time and for any reason. Additionally, growing awareness and use of paired kidney donations or kidney donation chains in the private sector are voluntary efforts that could benefit Veterans, and so these are specifically addressed in the final rule.
“The more live donors we have, the more the gift of life is given to the Veterans we serve,” said VA National Director of Clinical Services Manimegalai Murugavel D.N.P. “We know the availability of live organs and bone marrow does not meet the need for transplants nationwide. That’s why it’s important we find live donors to facilitate transplantation within a reasonably short time compared to the wait time of an organ from a deceased donor.”
As part of the integral care required by an eligible Veteran in need of a transplant, VA has offered solid organ transplant services since 1962 and bone marrow transplant services since 1982, including providing care and services for live donors donating a solid organ or bone marrow to a Veteran.
On average, VA receives over 3,500 referrals for transplants each year and performs more than 480 solid organ and bone marrow transplant procedures including live donor transplantation.