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New Pennsylvania Organ Donation Law to Help Save Lives

October 23, 2018

Harrisburg, PA – Governor Wolf today signed Senate Bill 180 into law, now Act 90 of 2018, marking the first update to Pennsylvania’s organ donor laws in nearly 20 years.

“Our laws will now receive a very important update, reflecting the latest developments in medicine and allowing for more Pennsylvanians to have access to lifesaving organs,” said Governor Wolf. “While more than 7,500 Pennsylvanians are on a transplant waiting list, only about 50 percent of people in Pennsylvania are signed up as organ donors. Together, we can help those in need and help save lives.”

The bill works to provide more access to organ donation, including tissue donation, as well as public education about the donation process and the importance of organ donation.

“Choosing to be an organ donor is the opportunity to help save a life, and potentially multiple lives,” Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine said. “It is essential that you have a conversation with your loved ones about your desire to be an organ donor and help save lives of those in need.”

More than 48 percent of current driver’s license and ID card holders – an estimated 4.77 million Pennsylvanians – are registered organ donors. More than 7,500 Pennsylvanians currently await organ transplants.

“PennDOT is proud to help facilitate the organ donor process for Pennsylvanians,” said Secretary of Transportation Leslie S. Richards. “Adding the organ donor designation to your Pennsylvania driver’s license or ID card is a quick and simple process that could save someone’s life.”

To add the organ donor designation to an existing driver’s license or ID card today, visit www.dmv.pa.gov and select the “Donate Life Pennsylvania” icon in the middle column of the page. Once the designation is added, individuals will receive a designation card that they must carry with them to affirm organ donor status until they renew or replace their driver’s license or ID card. There is no charge for adding the designation to your driver’s license or ID card.

Driver’s license and ID card holders, as well as registered vehicle owners, can also support organ donation programs. With the enactment of this bill, supporters can donate $3, previously $1, to the Robert P. Casey Memorial Organ and Tissue Donation Awareness Trust Fund at the time of application and/or renewal. Proceeds from the fund are used to educate and promote awareness of the organ donor program through non-profit organizations like the Center for Organ Recovery and Education and the Gift of Life Donor Program. Pennsylvanians have generously donated more than $14.5 million to the fund to date.

“Through years of hard work, compromise and collaboration, this final piece of legislation is one which we should all be proud of,” said Susan Stuart, CORE (Center for Organ Recovery & Education) CEO. “It offers hope to the more than 7,000 Pennsylvanians who are waiting for a life-saving transplant and means that more Pennsylvania families will have the opportunity for donation and the life-affirming legacy that comes with it. I am optimistic that this legislation will improve the donation process and I anticipate fewer Pennsylvanians will die while awaiting transplants.”

“On behalf of the thousands of people waiting for an organ transplant, and their families, we thank lawmakers for working together to pass this legislation,” said Howard M. Nathan, President and CEO of Gift of Life Donor Program. “We also recognize the commitment of countless volunteers, stakeholder groups and state agencies, whose efforts helped to bring this bill to final passage. While the process was long, the final result is a bill that will save lives.”

More information on organ and tissue donation in Pennsylvania can be found at www.donatelife-pa.org.

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