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Transplant bill would protect patients with disabilities

Liam James Doyle

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — U.S. Sen. Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire has helped introduce a bill that would prevent discrimination against patients with disabilities who are in need of an organ transplant.

The bill is named after Charlotte Woodward, of Virginia, an advocate with Down syndrome who received a heart transplant nine years ago and has fought to raise the issue of organ transplant discrimination in various states.

Hassan, a Democrat, introduced the bill recently with U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, a Republican from Florida. They said in a news release that more than 25 states currently prohibit organ transplantation discrimination, but discrepancies across state laws and delays in delivering relief to patients has made enforcement difficult.

Rubio and Hassan said the legislation would set a baseline for states by clarifying that providers must comply with the protections afforded to patients with disabilities. The bill would also expedite help through federal courts for patients and families that experienced discrimination.

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