NY celebrates Organ Donation Day

Posted 21 April 2017 at 3:14 pm

Provided photo: Lori Laine of Albion set up a display at the Department of Motor Vehicles in Albion today, urging people to sign up as organ donors. Laine said she was pleased that NY now allows 16- and 17-year-olds to be organ donors.

Press Release, Gov. Andrew Cuomo

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that New Yorkers applying for health insurance through NY State of Health, New York’s official health plan marketplace, can now enroll in the New York State Donate Life Registry as an organ donor.

April is National Donate Life Month, and the launch of this new option builds on New York State’s commitment to increasing organ donation rates. In addition, Governor Cuomo directed One World Trade Center, the SUNY Administration Building in Albany and the State Fairgrounds Entrance in Syracuse to be lit blue and green for Donate Life’s Blue and Green Day on April 21.

“There are more New Yorkers waiting for organs than there are organs available and we are addressing this critical public health issue by making it easier than ever to register,” Governor Cuomo said. “To honor those waiting for a donor and countless donor heroes across the state, New York has gone blue and green across the state, and I encourage all eligible New Yorkers to enroll today.”

Last year, Governor Cuomo signed legislation requiring NY State of Health to add the organ donation component to its health insurance application. With the launch of the option, individuals 16 years of age or older, who are completing an application, renewing a plan, or making a life status change will be asked if they would like to be added to the NYS Donate Life Registry.

In February, Cuomo announced new legislation that makes 16- and 17-year-olds eligible to register to be organ, eye and tissue donors. The new legislation enables this population to enroll in the Registry at the same time they first apply for a driver license, learner permit or non-driver ID, potentially increasing enrollments in New York by thousands.

New Yorkers can now enroll in the NYS Donate Life Registry through the following:

NY State of Health – nystateofhealth.ny.gov

NYS Department of Motor Vehicles – dmv.ny.gov

NYS Board of Elections – elections.ny.gov

When applying for a New York City Identification Card – nyc.gov

NYS Department of Health – health.ny.gov

According to the federal Organ Procurement and Transplant Network, more than 118,000 people nationwide are currently waiting for organ transplants. As of today, the total number is close to 10,000 in New York State. On average, 22 people die every day in the United States from causes that could have been treated with a donated organ. In addition, tissue donated by one person can positively impact the lives of more than 50 other people.

Five years ago, Governor Cuomo signed Lauren’s Law to increase enrollment rates in New York State. The legislation was named for Lauren Shields, a then 12-year-old girl from Stony Point in Rockland County who received a heart in a transplant operation in 2009. The law changed the language on the DMV license renewal form to highlight the choice for New Yorkers to enroll in the NYS Donate Life Registry. Customers are now required to check one of the two boxes related to organ donation in order for their application to be processed.

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