By Erica Young
West Virginia Press Association Capitol Reporter
CHARLESTON, W.VA — The West Virginia Senate Natural Resources Committee voted unanimously Monday to report SB 613 to the full Senate with the recommendation of passage. This bill would require the Department of Natural Resources to include the election of organ donation on hunting licenses in West Virginia.
Susan Stuart, president and CEO of the Center for Organ Recovery and Education (CORE), addressed the committee and gave statistics about organ donation. She said there are more than 115,000 people waiting for life saving organs and called this a “healthcare crisis” because 20 die each day due to not being able to receive the organs they need. In West Virginia alone there are 500 waiting for organs, most waiting for a kidney. Stuart also said the passage of this bill would significantly increase the number of people who register to donate their organs as the only way to do so right now is through the Division of Motor Vehicles through a drivers license.
She said, “As I’ve learned in West Virginia, often times this is the state that is ahead of everybody else, and with this piece of legislation, once again, you will be ahead.”
As for the cost, Stuart explained CORE orders several tests on the organs to be donated in order to make sure they are suitable for patients. CORE will then pay the donor hospital for all of the tests and then determines an “organ acquisition fee” is billed to the transplant center.
While not much discussion was had, Senator Rollen Roberts, R-Raleigh, took an opportunity to share why he felt strongly about the bill’s passage.
“Last month I had to conduct a funeral service for one of my church members who had been on the list for a long time . . . that was her hope, but she didn’t make it. I think there are a lot of people out there who are counting on something like this to be enacted so that we can be able to help them and give them some hope,” Roberts said.