OKLAHOMA CITY — Sen. Paul Rosino, R-Oklahoma City, has filed legislation to prohibit discrimination against a potential organ transplant recipient based solely on the person’s physical or mental disability. Rosino said Senate Bill 378, creating Everett’s Law, was requested by Edmond parents Rhys and Neely Gay. Their middle child, Everett, was diagnosed with Down Syndrome shortly after he was born. He also had a congenital heart defect.
“He’s three and has already had five surgeries. He’s healthy and happy, but there’s still a lot of uncertainty in his life. We’ve met other parents on this journey and learned that simply having diagnosis of Down Syndrome could be grounds for a child being turned down for an organ transplant,” said Everett’s father, Rhys. “My wife and I reached out to Senator Rosino to help make sure those with disabilities have a fair chance.”
Rosino is vice chair of both the Committee on Health and Human Services and the Appropriations Subcommittee on Health and Human Services. He enthusiastically agreed to author Everett’s Law.
“I think most Oklahomans would be shocked to know that currently a person can be denied a transplant or coverage simply because of a disability,” Rosino said. “As a father, as a grandfather and legislator, I find this inconceivable. Everett’s Law would prevent such discrimination. It’s something 12 other states have already approved, and another dozen are considering.”
Under SB 378, a health care provider or entity responsible for matching anatomical gift donors and recipients may not, solely based on a qualified individual’s mental or physical disability:
Deem the person ineligible to receive an anatomical gift or organ transplant;
- Deny medical or related organ transplantation services;
- Refuse to refer the person to a transplant center or other related specialist for evaluation or organ transplantation;
- Refuse to place a person on an organ transplant waiting list;
- Place a person at a lower position on an organ transplant waiting list; or
- Decline to accept insurance coverage for any procedure associated with the receipt of the anatomical gift.
The bill prohibits health carriers from:
- Denying coverage solely on the basis of the disability;
- Denying a patient eligibility or continued eligibility for a health benefit plan to circumvent the requirements of the section;
- Reducing provider reimbursement or providing incentives to induce the provider to provide care in a manner inconsistent with the section; or
- Limiting coverage benefits to a patient for services related to organ transplantation.