How We Help & Support Donors
Leaders of the Donor Care Network are living kidney donors. We have personally gone through the process of living donation and are therefore committed to ensuring convenient and safe donation experiences for all living kidney donors.
What is Donor Shield?
Donor Shield exists to honor living kidney donors and help minimize disruption to their lives. Donors who donate as part of a National Kidney Registry swap, through the Voucher Program or through a participating transplant center’s Donor Shield Direct program will be protected by the Donor Shield protections listed below.
We Provide Lost Wage Reimbursement
The Donor Care Network wants to ensure that the financial burdens of kidney donation are minimized. Donors may be eligible for reimbursement of up to six weeks of lost wages, with reimbursement for weeks three through six requiring clearance from the transplant center, if they donate at either a Donor Care Network Center of Excellence or a center that utilizes Donor Shield. Reimbursement is limited to $2,000 per week. Lost wages are defined and limited to documented expected earnings that a donor lost due to time missed at work as a result of the kidney donation.
We Provide Travel & Lodging Reimbursement
Those who donate at a Donor Care Network Center of Excellence, or at a center that utilizes Donor Shield, are eligible for up to $5,000 in reimbursements of their travel and lodging expenses related to their kidney donation based on receipts submitted by the donor. Add-ons or luxury expenses are excluded. Driving expenses are reimbursed at the IRS medical mileage rate. Lodging reimbursement covers hotels in the proximity of the transplant center.
Prioritization for Living Donor Kidney
Any donor who registers through the Donor Care Network and donates through the National Kidney Registry will receive prioritization for a living donor kidney in the unlikely case that they need a kidney transplant in the future. Research shows that living donor kidney transplants can last approximately twice as long as deceased donor kidney transplants.
We Provide Coverage for Uncovered Complications
If a kidney donor experiences post-surgical complications (e.g., hernia, etc.) related to kidney donation, the associated medical costs should be paid for by the recipient’s medical insurance. However, sometimes insurance companies avoid paying these costs by limiting coverage time following the donation. Sometimes insurance companies ask the donor for an additional co-payment for donor complications. While these instances are rare, they do happen and they are wrong. Through the Donor Protection Program, the Donor Care Network ensures that any donor who donates at a Donor Care Network Center or Excellence, or at a center that utilizes Donor Shield, is never asked to pay for a post-surgical complication cost that is a result of their kidney donation, including any co-pays. If you have a complication related to your kidney donation, please speak to the transplant program that performed your surgery.
We Provide Legal Representation
Generally most employers and insurance companies are very supportive of living kidney donation. Some employers (e.g., the Federal Government, the National Kidney Registry, etc.) offer additional paid leave to employees that donate a kidney. However, we have seen situations where employers are not so supportive, and in one case the National Kidney Registry was instrumental in winning a wrongful termination case when a donor involved in an National Kidney Registry living paired exchange was fired for taking the time off to donate a kidney. We also understand that some donors, after they donate, lose their health insurance or see health insurance premium increases solely due to donating a kidney. This is very uncommon, but it is wrong. If you donate your kidney at a Donor Care Network Center of Excellence, and are wrongfully terminated from your employment, see a rise in insurance premiums or lose your health insurance as a result of your donation, the Donor Care Network will stand behind you and our legal counsel will do everything reasonably possible to advocate on your behalf.
We Make the Process Easier
Paper-based donor screening and medical history data collection is inconvenient for donors. To make matters worse, many donor candidates are required to provide medical history multiple times during the intake process. The Donor Care Network has eliminated this problem by providing online donor screening so that potential donors can determine in less than five minutes if they are medically qualified to donate and which centers will accept them as donor candidates. Once the screening process is completed, the Donor Care Network collects your comprehensive medical history in an easy to use online format. Once the candidate completes the medical history, the data is electronically transferred to the transplant center.