Updates from the Committee on Health

Organ Donation Online Registration Bill Signed Into Law
July 8, 2010

Enrolling in New York’s organ donor registry will now be much easier under a bill signed into law by Governor David Paterson, his office announced today. The Electronic Signature Act, written by Assembly Health Committee chair Richard N. Gottfried and Senate Health Committee chair Thomas K. Duane, would allow potential organ donors to register online, instead of downloading a form and mailing it in.

Previously, the New York State Donate Life Registry did not allow people to register online. To register, a person had to download a form from the Department of Health website, print it, fill it out, and then mail it in.

“Mailing in a form is not that hard, but experience shows we need to make this as easy for people as possible,” said Assembly Member Gottfried. “A lot of people go online to register, print out the form, and never get around to mailing it in. Increasing anatomical gifts is a vital life-saving public health goal for the State of New York.” New York State has one of the worst rates of organ donation in the country: 47th out of 50 states.

“Making more organs available for transplant will save the lives of New Yorkers who die while waiting for a heart, lung, kidney, or other organ. Shorter waiting lists will also mean fewer years spent on dialysis, or disability while waiting for a cornea,” said Gottfried.

“Special thanks to Governor David Paterson, Senator Thomas K. Duane, the organ donation community, and the State Office of Technology and Department of Health, which helped in drafting this law,” Gottfried added.

Organizations in support of the new law include the New York Alliance for Donation, the National Kidney Foundation, the New York Center for Liver Transplantation, the Association of Organ Procurement Organizations, and Donate Life America.

“With a few keystrokes, New Yorkers will be able to make the decision to provide a life-saving service,” Gottfried said.