Everett’s Law, Banning Organ Transplant Discrimination, Moves to Governor
Mike Seals - April 14, 2021 11:04 pm
OKLAHOMA CITY – Legislation that would prohibit discrimination against a potential organ transplant recipient based solely on the person’s physical or mental disability passed the House on Tuesday and moves to the governor to be signed into law.
Senate Bill 378 by Rep. Carol Bush, R-Tulsa, and Sen. Paul Rosino, R-Oklahoma, is a request from Edmond parents Rhys and Neely Gay, whose middle child, Everett, age three, was diagnosed with Down Syndrome shortly after he was born and has a congenital heart defect. Everett is healthy after undergoing five surgeries but along the way, his parents learned that individuals with mental or physical challenges could be denied a life-saving transplant simply on the basis of a disability, so they began advocating for change. Their actions resulted in SB 378.
“On behalf of all families in Oklahoma, who have a loved one with disabilities, we are very proud and grateful that “Everett’s Law” passed both chambers of the Oklahoma State Legislature unanimously. We are hopeful, as this bill head to Governor Stitt’s desk for his consideration, that it will soon signed into law. We are thankful that Representative Carol Bush decided to carry this bill through the House. She is such an advocate for those who cannot fight for themselves.”
Bush said she was honored to be the House author of this bill.
“I applaud Everett’s parents for fighting not only for their son but for everyone who might faces such unfair discrimination,” Bush said. “Once this measure is signed into law, this will be an incredible win for the community of people that have physical or mental disabilities. They will now be able to access life-saving organ transplants to live longer, healthier lives.”
Rosino, the Senate author, worked closely with the family to draft the legislation.
“I want to thank members in both chambers for supporting this legislation, and I especially want to thank Representative Bush for working with me on this important bill,” Rosino said. “It’s hard to believe that simply having a diagnosis of Down Syndrome could result in a sweet child like Everett being turned down for a life-saving transplant. This measure will prevent that kind of discrimination. It’s been an honor championing this bill on behalf of Everett and his family.”
Under SB 378, a health care provider or entity responsible for matching anatomical gift donors and recipients may not, solely based on a qualified individual’s mental or physical disability:
- Deem the person ineligible to receive an anatomical gift or organ transplant
- Deny medical or related organ transplantation services
- Refuse to refer the person to a transplant center or other related specialist for evaluation or organ transplantation
- Refuse to place a person on an organ transplant waiting list
- Place a person at a lower position on an organ transplant waiting list
- Decline to accept insurance coverage for any procedure associated with the receipt of the anatomical gift
The bill prohibits health carriers from:
- Denying coverage solely on the basis of the disability
- Denying a patient eligibility or continued eligibility for a health benefit plan to circumvent the requirements of the section
- Reducing provider reimbursement or providing incentives to induce the provider to provide care in a manner inconsistent with the section
- Limiting coverage benefits to a patient for services related to organ transplantation
Twelve other states have similar legislation.
The bill passed the House 76-0 and now moves to the governor for his consideration of signing it into law.