Washington Round-Up, Week Ending July 8, 2016

I.  Introduced Four Months ago, The Living Donor Protection Act of 2016 Continues to Attract Support as Congressional Champions, AST & Stakeholders Drive More Endorsements and Cosponsors – 5 New Members of Congress Have Co-sponsored the Legislation in the Last 30 Days

During the three months since the Living Donor Protection Act (S. 2584 & H.R. 4616) was introduced on February 26, 2016, the legislation has attracted 36 co-sponsors in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives. Key Senate supporters include: Mark Kirk (R-IL), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Chris Coons (D-DE), Susan Collins (R-ME), Chris Murphy (D-CT), and Chuck Schumer (D-NY).  The House of Representatives identical legislation is being led by Congressmen Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) and Dr. Michael Burgess (R-TX) as well as an additional 25 Members of Congress that have co-sponsored the legislation.  Several of these co-sponsors signed-on to the legislation during the last two weeks.

AST Most Recent Activity:

Since ATC in Boston, the AST lobbyists have been back at it in Washington, DC meeting with & educating more Members of Congress on the merits of S. 2584 & H.R. 4616.  These lobbying visits in the House and Senate, coupled with targeted grassroots letter writing, telephone calls, emails and other stakeholder efforts have added an additional 5 new cosponsoring members of Congress.  Let’s keep up the good work and momentum by calling your Members of Congress and urging other AST members to do the same.

The next step is to continue to work closely with the legislation’s sponsors to either successfully attach the legislation to an end of the year must-pass package.  This involves a variety of steps including securing a “score” or budget estimate for the legislation from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO).  Additionally, all efforts are being executed in a strategic fashion with an eye toward securing support for the legislation now and into 2017 for the 115th Session of Congress should this election year prove limited in terms of end of year bill passage.  In other words, AST and the other supportive transplant stakeholder organizations have been instructed by our Congressional champions to aggressively secure support for the legislation as much as possible this year…so if necessary, we can roll that support over into the next Congress following the November election cycle and hit the ground running!!

AST Past Activity:

* During the past few weeks the AST authored and organized a joint stakeholder “Open Letter to Congress” urging House & Senate members to co-sponsor & enact this important legislation.  The AST joint letter was supported by the Transplant Roundtable and more than two dozen national organizations.  The letter was hand delivered to Congressional leadership, Committee Chairs and the entire 535 members of the House and Senate;

* AST remains in weekly contact with the LDPA primary Congressional sponsors (Kirk, Gillibrand, Nadler & Burgess) on Capitol Hill to discuss and mobilize legislative and political strategies to advance the legislation;

* The Society also met last week (and talks weekly) with key member organizations of the Transplant Roundtable to ensure coordination among our joint stakeholder Congressional lobbying partners, share political intelligence, and maximize collective advocacy efforts.  AST routinely meets with targeted Congressional offices on Capitol Hill in tandem with other national transplant organizations to emphasize wherever possible a unified approach;

As you already know, the LDPA legislation: 1) prohibits discrimination based on an individual’s status as a living organ donor in the offering, issuance, cancellation, coverage, price, or any other condition of a life insurance policy, disability insurance policy, or long-term care insurance policy; 2) amends the FMLA of 1993 to specifically include living organ donation as a serious health condition that entitles a covered employee to leave under that Act; and 3) requires HHS to update public service announcements, websites, and other media regarding living organ donation to educate the public on the benefits of living donation and access to insurance for living organ donors.

What Are The Next Steps and How May I Help?

- Grassroots and Direct Constituent Contact with Elected Officials Remains Key -

As the LDPA steadily gains Congressional co-sponsors, our legislative champions on Capitol Hill have requested that AST and the transplant community continue to:

* Make direct contact with your two Senators and one House Representative to continue a steady “drum beat” reminding your elected officials that this bill is critical public policy for transplantation and living organ donation; and to

* Increase targeted advocacy visits on Capitol Hill and “take the message and request for support directly to House and Senate leaders”.

Although AST lobbyists are in regular contact and on Capitol Hill advocating for passage of the LDPA, the Congressional leaders sponsoring the legislation have encouraged our organization and others to identify the legislation as a top priority issue and focus for any AST leadership “Capitol Hill Fly-In” before the gavel of adjournment falls on this Congress.  Our leaders on Capitol Hill remain concerned that the national election year political environment is a formidable distraction and hurdle for all legislative efforts.  They have requested that we maintain a steady and consistent grassroots constituent based campaign followed up with direct Congressional advocacy meetings and contacts.

* Cost Estimate and Congressional Budget Office (CBO)

AST is working with Congressional leaders and transplant stakeholders to request a cost analysis or “scoring” of the LDPA by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO).  Although the legislation was only introduced a few months ago, an official CBO score is necessary to advance any bill.  Additionally, although the LDPA is advancing in a very challenging election year environment….any support, co-sponsors and cost estimates/score achieved now will be of significant value to provide a “quick start” and continuation of momentum in the 115thCongress (should the bill not advance before the election).

* Further Deliver the Message of Support with AST Leaders on Capitol Hill

The AST leadership are in the process of scheduling a “Capitol Hill Fly-In” to travel to Washington, DC and personally walk the halls of Congress to garner further support for the Living Donor Protection Act of 2016.

Please Contact Your Members of Congress:  If you haven’t contacted the offices of your Members of Congress, please go to the AST website for background and easy-steps to make this very important constituent contact in support of the LDPA.

For information on the Living Donor Protection Act of 2016, click here.

II. AST Weighs In On Legislation Introduced in U.S. Senate & House of Representatives That Could Have Negative Impact on Kidney Patient Access and Referral to Transplantation

Last week, Senators Heller (R-NV) and Nelson (D-FL) introduced a companion bill mirroring legislation introduced the previous week by Congressmen Young (R-IN) and Blumenauer (D-OR) seeking to establish a new Medicare payment reimbursement model directing kidney ESRD patients into capitated payment arrangements that could have a devastating impact on a kidney patient’s ability be referred and access organ transplantation.  The bills, S. 3090 & H.R. 5506, “Patient Access to Integrated-Care, Empowerment, Nephrologists, and Treatment Demonstration Act” are essentially payment model proposals that have been crafted into legislation and primarily developed and driven forward by a dialysis stakeholder company.  Although the bipartisan and bicameral legislation has now been officially introduced into Congress, the bills are not expected to move forward in the 114th Congress……as is true for most legislation during this very politically challenging national election year (435 members of the House, 1/3 or the Senate and White House all up for re-election in just a few short months).

AST Most Recent Activity:

* AST lobbyists in Washington, DC have been meeting with the sponsoring Congressional offices in the House and Senate to make them aware of the potential negative impact for kidney patients as it relates to transplantation;

* Last week, former AST President Dr. Doug Norman, MD, an Oregon constituent of Congressman Blumenauer (D-OR), attended a local Oregon town hall meeting with Blumenauer to educate the lawmaker on the potential downside of his legislation for patients that could significantly benefit from kidney transplantation;

* The Society has developed a letter to the sponsors of S. 3090 & H.R. 5506 outlining the provisions of concern within the legislation and urging the bill sponsors to work with the transplantation stakeholder community to address concerns regarding kidney patient referral and access to organ transplant;

* AST lobbyists in Washington, DC have met with legislators and Capitol Hill staff directly and have also engaged in joint advocacy meetings with the stakeholder community and Capitol Hill to address the legislation.

What Are The Next Steps and How May I Help?

* AST is working closely with the Transplant Roundtable member organizations and Congressional Committee leaders to educate targeted lawmakers regarding the impact that the legislation may have for patients that could benefit from a kidney transplant.

Stay tuned… a letter will be sent on this topic next week. (Letter was sent July 28, 2016)

III.  AST Takes Advantage of July 4th Capitol Hill Recess By Delivering Key Public Policy Messages Back in the Local Congressional Districts & States

As former House Of Representatives Speaker Tip O'Neill (MA) famously stated, "All Politics Are Local".  Last Thursday evening, June 30th, AST lobbyist Bill Applegate hosted a political     fundraising event for Congressman Kevin Yoder (R-KS), a senior member of the U.S. House of Representatives Appropriations Committee.  The small political gathering was hosted in the owner's box of the St. Louis Cardinal's as they took on Congressman Kevin Yoder's hometown Kansas City Royals. Yoder has been a very active champion on issues important to organ transplantation before Congress, HHS, FDA, HRSA and NIH since he first arrived on Capitol Hill in 2009. Former AST President, Dr. Jeff Crippin, MD, attended and represented the Society during the small political fundraising event.  In addition to their mutual interest of organ transplantation and baseball…..both Congressman Yoder and Dr. Crippin are KU Alumni…and Kansas natives. 

Congressman Yoder has been a good friend to AST and the transplant community...locally in Kansas within the KU Transplant Program (located in his Congressional District) as well as nationally on myriad issues the impact the field of solid organ transplantation. Yoder was a featured guest speaker recently at the AST CEOT meeting in Phoenix, AZ and was recognized in 2015 as one the Society’s Legislators of the Year. 

What Are next Steps?

AST and the government relations office in Washington, DC are increasing the Society’s visibility and impact through more local grassroots connections between the Society’s membership and elected officials across the country.  Look for more activities in the future connecting the dots between AST members and their elected officials back in the States and Congressional districts.  These activities may include events similar to last week’s small gathering with Congressman Yoder as well as arranging tours of transplant programs for Members of Congress and their staff.

IV.  Preserving Transplant Immunosuppressive Medications Within the Medicare Part D Six Protected Classes - AST Continues to Deliver Message to MedPAC & Capitol Hill

As you know, the Medicare Payment Advisory Committee (MedPAC) recently approved a recommendation to Congress urging the removal of two of the Medicare program’s protected classes...antidepressants and immunosuppressants. The official MedPAC report is delivered to Capitol Hill in the summer…however we know that the contents of the report propose to eliminate transplant medications as a protected class.

AST Recent and Ongoing Activity:

* In response to the report’s official delivery to Capitol Hill and HHS-CMS, the AST has continued to engage in targeted advocacy efforts urging Members of Congress and their staff to "be on the lookout" and oppose any policy proposals from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) that may seek to remove certain classes of medications from the protected class policy;

* AST leadership signed-on to a Medicare Part D Coalition joint stakeholder letter of opposition to MedPAC last month and delivered the Society's own letter of concern to the Medicare payment advisory body's Executive Director. AST is also drafting a joint sign-on letter to MedPAC and Congress from interested member organizations of the Transplant Roundtable;

* The Society's government relations staff in Washington, DC have been meeting with Members of Congress and Capitol Hill staff during April and throughout the month of May to re-educate and mobilize those Congressional leaders that successfully opposed a similar CMS policy proposal in 2014;

* The Part D Coalition has coordinated a variety of collective advocacy efforts among the six protected class national stakeholder organizations.

Background & History:

In 2014, more than 50 Members of Congress signed a letter to CMS strongly urging the Federal Agency to withdraw its proposal to remove certain categories of drugs from the Medicare Part D Six Protected classes. Additionally, House & Senate leaders also made clear their concerns to HHS and CMS during Congressional hearings convened in 2014.

Upon MedPAC's delivery of the report to Congress, the relevant Congressional committees for oversight of the Medicare program usually convene a hearing allowing the MedPAC Executive Director and commissioners to testify and discuss the report's recommendations.  AST and other stakeholder organizations have already begun to reach out to those Members of Congress serving on the appropriate committees of jurisdiction – Senate Finance, House Ways & Means as well as House Energy & Commerce – requesting that those Capitol Hill offices express strong opposition to MedPAC’s recommendation for removal of two of the six protected classes during any upcoming Congressional hearings examining the report.

On Friday, July 1, 2016, Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) sent the this letter to CMS urging Acting Commissioner Andy Slavitt and the agency to maintain Medicare’s current six protected classes policy. 

What Are The Next Steps and How May I Help?

Although the MedPAC proposal to eliminate immunosuppressant medications from the six protected classes is not expected to be acted upon by Congress this year, the proposal continues to be proposed by the Medicare payment advisory body as well as the current Administration.  That said, AST and the transplant stakeholder community must remain vigilant and active to prevent the proposal from gaining any momentum.  Similar to the uphill climb for most freestanding legislation this year, Congress is not expected to move forward in enacting the MedPAC proposal during this very politically challenging national election year (435 members of the House, 1/3 or the Senate and White House all up for re-election in just a few short months). However, educating national leaders on Capitol Hill and reminding the House and Senate champions that have defended immunosuppressive drugs as a protected class in the past…remains critical.

In addition to the AST ongoing advocacy efforts outlined above, the Society's website will soon have a grassroots option for contacting your two Senators and one Member of the House of Representatives to convey your opposition (as a local constituent) to any policy attempts to remove immunosuppressive medications from the Medicare Program Part D Six Protected Classes Category.

For information on AST advocacy efforts to combat MedPAC's recommendation regarding the Medicare Part D Six Protected Classes, click here

V.  Organ Donor Clarification Act – Legislation Introduced by Congressman Cartwright (D-PA) Focusing on Donor Incentives 

Congressman Matt Cartwright (D-PA), a second term Democratic member of the U.S. House of Representatives serving on the Natural Resources Committee and Oversight & Government Reform Committee, introduced legislation in late May of this year, H.R. 5344, “Organ Donation Clarification Act of 2016”, seeking to (as stated in Rep. Cartwright’s legislative summary):

“Currently, organ transplantation is governed by the National Organ Transplant Act (NOTA) of 1984.  This law prohibits buying or selling organs for “valuable consideration.”

“Confusion about what constitutes valuable consideration has hampered donation by scaring people away from reimbursing living organ donors for things like medical expenses and lost wages,” said Rep. Cartwright.  “Both are legal under NOTA, but the law’s lack of clarity and its criminal penalties have created uncertainty and prevented reimbursements in many cases.”

The expansive kidney waiting list is also a burden on our nation’s finances, as the costs are becoming hugely expensive for Medicare and drains several other social service programs.  Increased transplants would save Medicare and the government billions of dollars.  Experts project that eliminating the waiting list would save taxpayers well in excess of $5.5 billion per year in medical costs and billions of dollars more in savings to other social programs.

The Organ Donor Clarification Act would:

  • Clarify that certain reimbursements are not valuable consideration but are reimbursements for expenses a donor incurs
  • Allow government-run pilot programs to test the effect of providing non cash incentives to promote organ donation.  These pilot programs would have to pass ethical board scrutiny, be approved by HHS, distribute organs through the current merit based system, and last no longer than five years”

The legislation has been endorsed by the following organizations: Americans for Tax Reform, American Foundation for Donation and Transplantation, American Medical Association, Fair Allocations in Research Foundation, Transplant Recipients International Organization, WaitList Zero.

Congressman Cartwright’s legislative summary states that NOTA's, “lack of clarity and its criminal penalties have created uncertainty and prevented reimbursements in many cases”….and that..."current law does not allow for any entity to test the effectiveness of providing non cash benefits to encourage donation.  These benefits could include funeral benefits for deceased donors and health insurance, tuition assistance, or other incentives to increase the number of living donors.”

Congressman Cartwright convened a Congressional staff briefing a few weeks ago on Capitol Hill to garner greater interest and support for his legislation.  At this point, the bill does not have a companion proposal in the U.S. Senate. 

What Are The Next Steps And How May I Help?

The Cartwright Organ Donor Clarification Act remains under review by AST and many other national transplant stakeholder organizations.  AST leadership have reviewed and continue to discuss the draft bill.  AST government relations staff in Washington, DC have met with the office of Congressman Cartwright and provided transplantation public policy historical context and background on solid organ transplantation.  Early in the legislative development process, AST leadership drafted a letter to Congressman Cartwright applauding his interest in transplant & organ donation policy as well as to urge Cartwright's outreach efforts to include the full transplant stakeholder community. 

At present, there is no specific request for action on this draft legislative policy proposal.  Stay tuned…….

To see a copy of the Organ Donor Clarification Act, click here.

VI.  AST Remains Concerned for Rollout of New FDA Oversight Policy Overseeing Laboratory Developed Tests (LDTs)& Possible Negative Impact on Transplant Patients – Society Keeps Positive Report Language in the Approps Report

As you know, AST was both pleased and supportive of the recent FY17 Congressional Appropriations Report Language urging caution and further study prior to any new FDA policy changes regarding Laboratory Developed Tests (LDT).

See legislative appropriations report language below:

"Laboratory Developed Tests.—The FDA’s draft guidance issued on October 3, 2014, titled ‘‘Framework for Regulatory Oversight of Laboratory Developed Tests’’ (LDTs), puts forth a proposed regulatory framework that is a significant shift in the way LDTs are regulated. Such a shift deserves input from the public, and Congress has been working with stakeholders, constituencies, and the FDA to find common ground on regulating LDTs. The FDA’s guidance circumvents the normal rulemaking process and changes expectations for patients, doctors, and laboratories for the first time since the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments Act was passed in 1988. The Committee directs the FDA to suspend further efforts to finalize the LDT guidance and continue working with Congress to pass legislation that addresses a new pathway for regulation of LDTs in a transparent manner."

Although some Congressional leaders have urged caution and further examination with the yet to be officially released FDA policy for LDTs, other leaders from the House Energy & Commerce Committee and Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions (HELP) Committee indicated this past week that they may seek to advance their own LDT compromise oversight proposal this year.  Such a proposal may also have unintended negative consequences for transplant patient diagnostics. AST has learned that a Congressional hearing on LDTs may be convened by the House E & C Committee in the near future and that an LDT oversight amendment could still be advanced during the 114th Congress.

AST Most Recent Activity:

AST government relations staff in Washington, DC met over the last two weeks with House Appropriations Committee leaders and staff as the Subcommittee is expected to mark-up (review & approve) the FY 2017 Labor-HHS Appropriations bill this Thursday, June 7th.  AST has communicated to lawmakers the importance of maintaining the positive LDT report language in the final bill report.

AST Past Activity:

The AST has been very involved on the FDA LDT issue at both the Agency and Congressional levels.....testifying before the federal agency in Washington, DC and educating House and Senate leaders.

The Society's government relations staff are meeting this coming week on Capitol Hill with targeted Congressional leaders to further discuss the House E & C and Senate HELP Committee plans for addressing the LDT issue during the remainder of the 114th Congress.

What Are The Next Steps and How May I Help?

At this time there is no specific action requested. However, in follow up to the Society's government relations staff meetings on Capitol Hill, there may be a variety of "asks" for AST grassroots contacts and official Society communications to Congressional leaders….particularly as the Congressional Appropriations process gains momentum.

VII.  Transplant Patients & Hospital Readmission Penalties Revisited by Congress with Introduction of Legislation

UPDATE & Victory – AST Endorsed Bill Passed the U.S. House of Representatives on June 7th

As reported, on May 18th, the House Ways & Means Health Subcommittee Chairman Pat Tiberi (R-OH) and Health Subcommittee Ranking Member Jim McDermott (D-WA), introduced H.R. 5273, the Helping Hospitals Improve Patient Care Act, bipartisan legislation to advance needed reforms for hospitals and other Medicare providers.  Chairman Tiberi and Full Committee Chairman Brady both requested AST endorsement of the transplant patient provision include in the legislation.  On June 7th, H.R. 5273 passed the U.S. House of Representatives.

As described in their Congressional statement of introduction press release:

“The Helping Hospitals Improve Patient Care Act takes responsible steps to strengthen Medicare and give hospitals and health care providers the certainty they need to best serve their patients. It is fully paid for and includes many bipartisan provisions that are priorities to members of the Ways and Means Committee. I was proud to work with Chairman Brady, Ranking Member McDermott and Ranking Member Levin to advance these critical solutions to improve patient access to affordable, high-quality care,” said Subcommittee Chairman Tiberi.

With regard to hospital readmission penalties and transplant patients, the bill summary stated:

“This provision provides a bridge to improved consideration of socioeconomic status in the Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program to prevent penalizing hospitals that serve low-income patients, without masking socioeconomic disparities. Until reports and data required under the Improving Medicare Post Acute Care Transformation Act of 2014 (IMPACT) are available, the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) would compare performance of hospitals that service similar proportions of dual-eligible individuals in applying adjustments under the Readmissions program. After the IMPACT studies are completed, the Secretary would be able to adjust the performance based on the IMPACT data and research.”

H.R. 5273 specifically identifies the transplant patient population in legislative language as follows:

"REMOVAL OF CERTAIN RE-ADMISSIONS.—In promulgating regulations to carry out this subsection, with respect to discharges occurring after fiscal year 2018, the Secretary may consider removal as a readmission of an admission that is classified within one or more of the following: transplants, end-stage renal disease, burns, trauma, psychosis, or sub- stance abuse."

Special Note: You may recall that AST was previously very active in addressing the issue of newly implemented hospital readmissions penalties associated with the ACA and had worked with Congressional champions and transplant stakeholder organizations to address this important issue in the past.

What Are The Next Steps and How May I Help?

AST government relations staff in Washington, DC are meeting again this week with the sponsors of H.R. 5273, and the staff of Chairman Tiberi and full Committee Chairman Brady to examine strategy to hopefully move the proposal on the Senate side.  Stay tuned as we will likely look to engage AST grassroots to advance similar/companion policy in the U.S. Senate.

For more information or to see a summary of H.R. 5273, click here. You may also review the AST’s letter of support for this legislation.

VIII.  AST Continues to Advocate Strongly on Capitol Hill for NIH Funding and HRSA DoT Transplant Program Resources

Although the FY17 federal appropriations process has been "slow going", this week is scheduled to include the House of Representatives Labor-HHS Appropriations Subcommittee mark-up (review and approval) of their FY 2017 spending bill.  As we reported a few weeks ago, the Senate Appropriations Committee has already cleared their FY 2017 Labor-HHS spending bill….including a $2 billion boost for NIH.  The House Appropriations is expected to also include an increase for NIH…but not at the same $2 billion level included in the Senate package.

AST Recent and Ongoing Activity:

* AST has again this year been very visible on Capitol Hill in support of robust funding for the FY17 NIH appropriations account and for increased HRSA DoT transplant program resources.

* In addition to direct lobbying of the House & Senate Appropriations Committees, the AST has drafted individual letters and supported joint NIH coalition letters to Capitol Hill in support of biomedical research funding in FY17. These advocacy activities include ongoing joint lobbying initiatives with the Transplant Roundtable, Friends of NIH coalitions, and many other organizations.

* Last week, AST former President Dr. Jeff Crippin, MD, met personally with House of Representatives Appropriations Committee leader Congressman Kevin Yoder (R-KS) to express the Society’s strong support for the House to fund NIH at least as high as the $2 billion recently approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee. Yoder was one of the biggest GOP supporters of NIH funding in 2015-2016…leading several efforts including a 72 Member sign-on letter of support for increased NIH resources.

What Are The Next Steps and How May I Help?

AST will soon post a new action alert with grassroots instructions on www.myast.org.  As they say, "All Politics Are Local" and the Society would like to again complement its existing advocacy lobbying efforts with direct constituent contact between AST members and their Members of Congress.  Look for the upcoming Call To Action.

IX. AST Broadens Outreach and Connection Within Black & Hispanic Political Communities – Connects Dots Between State and Federal Minority Caucus Leaders on Organ Donation & Transplant

On Saturday June 11th, at the same time as the recent ATC meeting in Boston, AST leader Dr. Richard Formica and the Society’s Director of Government Relations, Bill Applegate, traveled across town in Boston to participate in a meeting of the National Black Caucus of State Legislators and National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators.  The meeting, “Finding a Match: Solutions for Strengthening The Transplant System”, was a well-attended gathering of State minority politicians from across the country.  AST and Dr. Formica served as a guest panelist addressing, “Innovations in Transplant Procedures”.  However, the discussion during a Q & A session with the Black & Hispanic State leaders quickly turned to the issue of improving minority patient access, system navigation, the role of race, and possible solutions to improve the existing system.  Along with panelists Dr. Dorry Segev, Dr. Juan Carlos Caicedo, and Dr. Tania Small, Dr. Formica highlighted policy proposals including the AST priority legislation, the Living Donor Protection Act (LDPA) as well as ongoing efforts to address patient access to immunosuppressant drug coverages.  Dr. Dorry Segev briefed the legislators on the recent challenges facing HIV Organ Procurement Equity Act (HOPE) including 26 State laws that currently prohibit and would prevent HOPE act related policy from taking place within their borders.  Dr. Segev urged State lawmakers to seek to overturn and amend current law on the books of those 26 States.

Following the formal presentations, AST’s Dr. Formica and Government Relations Director Bill Applegate introduced themselves and the Society to several key State politicians attending the conference and have since shared LDPA and Immuno bills to serve as model legislation within their respective State Legislatures.  The AST has also served as a conduit for relationship building between State lawmakers interested in organ transplantation by introducing them to their federal organ transplant champions in the US House of Representatives and US Senate.

AST has remained engaged in growing dialogue with their State minority caucus leaders since last month’s meeting in Boston.  As you may know, the AST has worked for many years with the minority caucuses on Capitol Hill, including the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) and Organ Donation Caucus Co-Chair Congressman Lacy Clay (D-MO)…a sponsor of H.R. 2472, the “Everson Walls & Ron Springs Gift of Life Act”.  

Stay tuned……