Organ donation discrimination banned under bill on Gov. Baker's desk

STATE HOUSE NEWS SERVICE |  Andy Metzger

In this recent photo, research associate Lolita Forrest assists Dr. Thomas Egan in testing a set of lungs donated as part of research at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. It's a little-known twist of nature: Your lungs can live on for a while after you die. The air left inside keeps them from deteriorating right away like other organs. Now an innovative experiment aims to use that hour or more window of time to boost lung transplants by allowing donations from people who suddenly collapse and die at home instead of in a hospital. (AP Photo/Allen G. Breed) (Allen Breed)

STATE HOUSE, BOSTON, NOV. 23, 2016.....Mental or physical disabilities could not form the sole basis for denying a person an organ transplant under a bill sent to Gov. Charlie Baker's desk Wednesday, outlawing a practice that might not occur at all in Massachusetts.

Backed by the Massachusetts Down Syndrome Congress, the bill would empower the attorney general to take civil action and allow courts to impose civil penalties of up to $50,000 for the first violation or $100,000 for any subsequent violations.

The bill explicitly bars medical providers from using a mental or physical disability - as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act - from serving as the sole basis to deem someone ineligible for receiving an organ transplant or denial of insurance coverage.

Jane Lane, a lobbyist for the Down syndrome group, said there are no known cases of disability-based discrimination occurring in Massachusetts but there have been issues around the country. Continue reading
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