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Walker visits Children’s to sign bill that protects jobs of live organ donors

April 01, 2016

Bill Signing WEB

MILWAUKEE – Governor Scott Walker visited Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin on Friday, April 1, to sign a bill into law that requires businesses of a certain size to provide up to six weeks of unpaid leave to workers who elect to be a bone marrow or organ donor.

“There’s roughly 2,000 people in Wisconsin and 120,000 people in the country every year who need organ donations,” Walker said. In Wisconsin, 124 of the 565 organ transplants included a living donor.

“We’d love to have 100 percent of people in this state signing up to donate, but to those individuals willing to make a live donation of an organ or bone marrow, we should remove every barrier possible,” Walker said. “If someone is willing to donate, just like someone who is willing to serve on our armed forces, that’s a special kind of employee, and we want to make sure we honor and respect those employees.”

Peggy Troy, Children’s CEO and president, said the bill is extremely important to the children waiting on transplant lists.

“Here at Children’s, we’re focused on kids and focused on supporting them in every possible way we can,” Troy said. “This bill will make it easier for people to be able to donate while they have their full-time jobs.”

Children’s hosted a news conference in January to announce the bill, which was proposed by Sen. Alberta Darling and Rep. Cory Mason. Darling’s husband was on the organ donation waiting list when he passed away in 2015.

On average, 22 people die each day while waiting for a transplant, according to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.

About Bill 517

Before the bill, employers were required to provide medical leave to their employees, but it did not allow that leave to cover a bone marrow or organ donor. The new bill:
• Allows an employee to take no more than six weeks of unpaid leave for the purpose of a bone marrow or organ donation.
• Only covers the time necessary for the employee to undergo the donation procedure and recovery.
• Requires employees to provide documentation confirming a patient needs the bone marrow or organ transplant and that the employee is eligible and a match to serve as a donor for that person to the employer.
• Only covers businesses with 50 or more employees working full-time.
• Limits the employees eligible who have worked at a qualified business for 52 consecutive weeks and worked at least 1,000 hours.

Facts about organ donation
• Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin is one of four transplant centers in Wisconsin. The other three are Froedtert Hospital and the Medical College of Wisconsin, Aurora St. Luke’s Medical Center and University of Wisconsin Hospital.
• In 2015, 565 organ transplants were done in Wisconsin. Of those, 124 included a living donor.
• Children’s does kidney, liver and heart transplants.

Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin
Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin is the region’s only independent health care system dedicated solely to the health and well-being of children. The hospital, with locations in Milwaukee and Neenah, Wisconsin, is recognized as one of the leading pediatric health care centers in the United States. It is ranked in nine specialty areas in U.S. News & World Report’s 2015-16 Best Children’s Hospitals report. Children’s provides primary care, specialty care, urgent care, emergency care, community health services, foster and adoption services, child and family counseling, child advocacy services and family resource centers. In 2014, Children’s invested more than $102 million in the community to improve the health status of children through medical care, advocacy, education and pediatric medical research. Children’s achieves its mission in part through donations from individuals, corporations and foundations and is proud to be a member of Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. For more information, visit the website at chw.org.

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