Jacobs trying to increase organ donor registration in non-traditional places

Apr 28, 2017

New York State ranks last in the nation for participation by residents in organ donor registries. So how do you change that when most people sign up at their local auto bureau when getting a driver’s license?

State Senator Chris Jacobs believes it’s by finding people where they sign up for other forms of identification.

Data compiled from 2014 shows New York with only 23 percent of residents participating in donor registries – leaving the state at the bottom of the national ranking.

“We really need to do a lot to get those numbers up, because we have 10,000 folks on waiting lists in just New York State alone for life-saving organ donation,” Jacobs said.

Jacobs estimates the majority of New Yorkers who do not participate in donor registration are downstate residents.

“One of the problems there is not as many people drive,” said Jacobs. “Not as many people go to their local DMV.”

Legislation introduced by Jacobs in the state Senate would offer the opportunity to register as a donor when residents sign up for library cards, as well as college identification in the SUNY and CUNY school systems.

“We’re talking about millions of people,” said Jacobs. “Probably over a million kids in SUNY. Half a million in the city, alone, at CUNY schools.”

Jacobs’ legislation in the state Senate is co-sponsored by Senators Tony Avella, Neil D. Breslin, Thomas D. Croci, and Patrick M. Gallivan.

He has also partnered with State Assemblyman Michael Kearns to co-sponsor the legislation in the Assembly, and is in talks with Assemblyman Gotfried of Manhattan who is has chaired the Assembly Health Committee for thirty years.

With growing support on both sides of the legislature, including from Senate Majority Leader John J. Flanagan – a strong proponent of organ donation – Jacobs is confident the legislation will pass this year.