Background

Many individuals may desire to become living donors for family or acquaintances, but lack the necessary resources to cover expenses not covered by insurance. The costs of being a donor can represent a substantial financial burden on the parties involved; for some, non-reimbursed expenses may make living donations impossible.

The National Living Donor Assistance Center is established to provide greater access to transplantation for persons who want to donate, but cannot otherwise afford the travel and subsistence expenses associated with donation.

The authorizing legislation provides that funds made available through this grant program may not be made available to donating individuals under this program when payment for such expenses has been made, or can reasonably be expected to be made: 1) under any State compensation program, under an insurance policy, or under any Federal or State health benefits program; 2) by an entity that provides health services on a prepaid basis; or 3) by the recipient of the organ.

This program is authorized by section 377 of the Public Health Service (PHS) Act, 42 U.S.C. ยง 274f. The specific authority was authorized by the Organ Donation and Recovery Improvement Act (P.L. 108-216) which provided authority to the Secretary to establish this grant program to assist living donors who need financial assistance to help defray travel and subsistence expenses.

This program is administered by the Division of Transplantation (DoT), Healthcare Systems Bureau (HSB), Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), United States Health and Human Services (HHS) through a cooperative agreement with the University of Arizona (UA) and the American Society of Transplant Surgeons (ASTS).

In April 2006, HRSA and the Division of Transplantation, issued a request for applications to:

  1. Establish and operate a National system to provide reimbursement of travel and subsistence expenses, and other non-medical expenses that may be authorized by the Secretary, to individuals making living donations of their organs.
  2. Work collaboratively with HRSA, with input from the transplant community, to establish policies and procedures governing the operation of the program.
  3. Establish and operate an efficient and effective system to process applications submitted by transplant programs on behalf of living donors and to make timely disbursements to donors approved for reimbursement.
  4. Establish and operate a system to ensure the financial integrity of the program.
  5. Establish a data collection system to operate and evaluate the effectiveness of the program.

In September 2006, HRSA awarded the cooperative agreement to the University of Michigan with a subcontract to the American Society of Transplant Surgeons to establish and operate a National Living Donor Assistance Center. The HRSA award has since transferred from the University of Michigan to the University of Arizona in May, 2016. All program operations, team members and existing subcontracts have remained the same with the transfer.

In February 2007, the first meeting of the Advisory Group was held to establish proposed eligibility guidelines and program policies.

In April 2007, HRSA published proposed eligibility guidelines in the Federal Register for public comment through May 24, 2007. Thirty comments were received from the public. All of the comments strongly supported the federal government providing financial assistance for travel and subsistence expenses.

In June 2007, a conference call with the Advisory Group and HRSA was held to discuss public comments and make recommendations for final eligibility guidelines.

In October 2007, the eligibility guidelines were finalized by HRSA and published on the National Living Donor Assistance Center (NLDAC) website.

In October 2007, transplant centers were invited to register for the program on the NLDAC website.

Patient Testimonials
Learn what you need to know before applying for NLDAC assistance by reading our Program Snapshot
Organ Donor
University of Arizona
ASTS
Arbor Research Collaborative for Health
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