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Spilka Advocates for Organ-Donor Tax Breaks

The state senator, who represents Framingham, added the amendment to the state's budget following the case of Krystine Orr of Framingham, who needed a kidney donation in 2007.

State Sen. Karen Spilka, whose district includes Framingham, yesterday added a Gift of Life amendment to the Senate budget which will create an income-tax deduction for Massachusetts residents who, while living, donate an organ to another human being.

The deduction can be up to $10,000 for travel, lodging and lost wages. 

Spilka said in a statement she added the amendment so that organ donors aren't hurt financially by their altruistic organ donations.

 “This legislation will ... ultimately save lives every year," she said.

Spilka added the amendment following the case of Krystine Orr of Framingham who needed a kidney donation in 2007. 

In her statement, Spilka said by offering economic relief to donors, the state will save money by lowering costly and lengthy hospital stays for those who need transplants and reducing the need for dialysis, which can cost $50,000 a year.

Massachusetts will join 19 other states that have already passed similar legislation and 22 more states that are considering it.

The Senate budget will go to a joint legislative committee before being voted on by both houses and sent to Gov. Patrick.

Spilka was also involved in a bill earlier this month in which a joint committee of the House and Senate on Children, Families and Persons with Disabilities issued a favorable report on Juvenile Court reform and services to children in crisis because of behavioral problems.

Rep. Kay Kahn of Newton, House chairwoman of the joint committee, publicly thanked Spilka for her willingness to tackle what Kahn said was an enormous task in a positive manner.

In 2005, Spilka and state Rep. Paul Donato of Medford, created a task force to examine how the state treats Children in Need of Services. In January 2007, Spilka filed legislation based on the task force’s recommendations to reform the CHINS system.

“Our communities are better off when we provide preventive services that are proven to keep kids in their homes and schools and avoid using the courts, police and probation to solve family issues," Spilka said in a writen statement.  Spilka said An Act Regarding Families and Children Engaged in Services (S.66, H. 1294) marks a big improvement over the system which has been in place for 40 years.

The House and Senate bills are supported by a FACES (Families and Children Engaged in Services) Coalition lead by the Children’s Mental Health Campaign, The Children’s League of Massachusetts and the Massachusetts Alliance for Families 

Jim Rizoli May 27, 2011 at 07:24 PM
Jim Rizoli CCFIILE.COM Six years ago Karen had some issues with her son, so her statement here is interesting. She speaks from experience. “Our communities are better off when we provide preventive services that are proven to keep kids in their homes and schools and avoid using the courts, police and probation to solve family issues," http://www.boston.com/news/local/articles/2005/08/07/spilkas_son_facing_charges/ Interesting I never heard the outcome of this case....It kinda like disappeared from the news ( :-))
Robert F. Hickey, Ph.D. May 27, 2011 at 08:04 PM
Average unclomplicated dialysis costs $77,000.00. However, many people on dialysis frequenetly require intervential radiologic procedures to maintain the viability of the dialysis access (fistula or graft). These procedures can cost an additional $12,000.00 to $15,000.00 each. I will be grateful for the reast of my life to the young man from Tennessee who stepped forward as an altruistic, non-related, living, kidney donor for me. I was connected to that samaritan through a MA non-profit www.matchingdonors.com. I recommend that organization without reservation to anyone needing a human organ transplant. Although public service announcements flood the airways encouraging people to become organ donors upon death, no one ever gets an organ donated to them in a time of need. There are organ procurement fees levied by the supposed non-profits. The average fee for a kidney across the country is $45,000.00. Organ donation definitely is a beneficial gesture, however, I do not agree with the Organ Procurement Organizations charging such high fees for donated organs such that thousands of people cannot afford to live. Additionally, I find it unjust that the managers running these agencies which are supposed to be non-profits makes as much as $700,000.00 annually. This proposed tax incentive in MA will be most beneficial in encouraging true organ donation!
Brenda Crawshaw May 27, 2011 at 09:28 PM
This is a FANTASTIC initiative, not just to offer an advantage to those generous enough to offer such a gift but to raise the awareness of the absolute need for organ donation.

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