Feb 13
Last Wednesday, State Representative John W. Scibak joined his colleagues in the House of Representatives in passing an act adopting the revised Uniform Anatomical Gift Act. This legislation aims to clarify the state’s current organ donation law and also harmonize it with current federal law.   “I applaud Chairman Sanchez and the Joint Committee on Public Health for their work in creating this legislation,” House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo (D – Winthrop) said. “Streamlining the process by which patients in need can find and obtain an organ or tissue donation will save the lives of so many people in Massachusetts.”  “Today in Massachusetts, thousands of patients are in desperate need of a life-saving organ transplant. By passing this legislation today, the House of Representatives will improve their chances that an organ will be found for them by removing regulatory barriers to matching those patients with donors in Massachusetts and other states,” said Representative Jeffrey Sanchez (D – Jamaica Plain), House Chairman of the Joint Committee on Public Health. This legislation prioritizes “durable power of attorney for health care” as the top donation decision maker consistent with the agent’s priority as the medical decision maker. It also enables family members in a class to make a donation decision rather than allowing one family member to veto, further clarifying the consent process. Timely access to information will now be available for an adequate medical evaluation to determine the eligibility of donors. Additionally, this legislation supports the Organ and Tissue Donor Registration Fund that allowed people to register as an organ donor at the Registry of Motor Vehicles or online and also re-established the Department of Public Health’s Advisory Council on Organ and Tissue Transplants and Donations to work with public and private agencies to increase organ and tissue donation and transplant awareness. This legislation further supports this by requiring the RMV to provide a summary and explanation of the donor registry and anatomical gift act in every license and registration renewal. It also requires the RMV to provide electronic access to relative information on licensed drivers and ID holders who are registered donors.