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Compensation for Live organ donors

 Compensation for live organ donation (1 June 2017)

Live donation of a kidney or part of a liver can significantly improve the duration and quality of life for many people. Removing barriers to live organ donation is important to help people get the transplant they need.

You may now be entitled to 100 percent compensation for lost earnings if you donate a live organ. This compensation is for up to 12 weeks from the date you have your surgery and while you recover.

The Ministry of Health will administer this compensation from 5 December 2017. Until then Work and Income will continue to provide limited financial assistance. People who have donated a live organ from 12 September 2016 until the new process takes effect on 5 December 2017 will be able to claim the difference between what they have received through Work and Income and anything they would be entitled to under the new Act through the Ministry of Health. Donors will be contacted about this in November 2017.

You won’t be entitled to compensation if you use annual leave or sick leave to go through the donation process because it’s only available for loss of earnings. You may choose to take annual leave or sick leave to extend your recovery period, in which case you will just be compensated for the time you have gone without earning.

If you are on a benefit and also earn an income you may be entitled to some compensation and should talk to Work and Income about your options.

You may also be able to have some of your travel and accommodation costs associated with the organ donor surgery reimbursed. Funding for this is the responsibility of the hospital where the person receiving the organ lives. Kidney transplants are carried out in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch hospitals. Liver transplants are only carried out in Auckland. The donor liaison coordinator or renal social worker at the hospital nearest to you can give you information about this.

You do not have to be living in New Zealand to qualify for live organ donation compensation. However your surgery must take place in New Zealand and the person receiving the organ must be eligible for publicly funded health services in New Zealand.

You can donate an organ if you have successfully completed medical tests and checks to make sure this type of surgery is suitable for you. If you are thinking of donating your kidney, contact the donor liaison coordinator or renal social worker at your nearest hospital. If it is part of your liver, contact Auckland Hospital.

For more information and resources about live organ donation, including travel reimbursement, see Organ Donor Resources. http://www.health.govt.nz/about-ministry/leadership-ministry/expert-groups/national-renal-transplant-service/organ-donor-resources

 For more information about organ donation go to

National Renal Transplant Service - http://www.health.govt.nz/about-ministry/leadership-ministry/expert-groups/national-renal-transplant-service

Organ Donation New Zealand - www.donor.co.nz

Kidney Health New Zealand - www.kidneys.co.nz

Live Kidney Donation Aotearoa - www.kidneydonor.org.nz

New Zealand Liver Transplant Recipients - www.livers.org.nz

 Live organ donation: frequently asked questions

(as of 19 May 2017).

Compensation for Live Organ Donation Act – what is the Act, who does it apply to and when will it come into effect?

What’s happening with live organ donation?

A new Act was passed on 5 December 2016, which means live organ donors will be compensated for loss of earnings after donating an organ. This is for up to 12 weeks of recovery after the surgery.

The Ministry of Health will be administering this compensation, called Live Organ Donor Compensation, when the Act starts by 5 December 2017. Until then Work and Income will provide financial assistance.

People who have been getting financial help from Work and Income between 12 September 2016 and when the new process starts will be able to receive a lump sum for the difference between the payment they got by Work and Income and the loss of earnings under the Act. Live organ donors will be able to apply to the Ministry of Health when the Act starts (by 5 December 2017).

Why has this change been made?

Live organ donation (for example, kidney, or part of a liver) can significantly improve the quality and duration of life for many people.

Removing barriers to live organ donation is important to help people get the transplant they need.

Why is there compensation for live organ donors and not deceased organ donors?

Live organ donation compensation is for loss of earnings a person may experience while they undergo surgery for the donation and the subsequent recovery process. Deceased organs are gifted by the donor.

Who can receive compensation under the Act?

Anyone who donates an organ (either a kidney or part of their liver) can receive compensation under the Act if they have lost earnings and qualify. The compensation does not apply for people who use their sick leave or annual leave to donate.

People who have been getting financial help from Work and Income until the new process starts will be able to receive a lump sum for the difference between the payment they got by Work and Income and the loss of earnings under the Act. Live organ donors will be able to apply to the Ministry of Health when the Act starts (by 5 December 2017).

If someone donates between 12 September 2016 and when the new process starts, they doesn't use their annual or sick leave to go through the donation process, and doesn't apply for Work and Income they can still apply for loss of earnings compensation.

The donor does not have to be living in New Zealand.  However the donor’s surgery must take place in New Zealand and the person receiving the organ must be eligible for access to New Zealand health services.

There is more information for overseas donors under the Information for overseas donors section of this document.

For more information about eligibility for New Zealand health services: http://www.health.govt.nz/new-zealand-health-system/eligibility-publicly-funded-health-services/eligibility-questions-and-answers-consumers

When do I get the Live Organ Donor Compensation and how long do I get it for?

Live organ donors who qualify to donate will be paid 100 percent of their loss of income from the day of their surgery and for up to 12 weeks to recover. You will need to provide evidence of earnings and a medical certificate for the recovery period.

What if I’m self-employed?

If you are self-employed you will be eligible for loss of earnings compensation. You will need to provide evidence of earnings to determine this rate, which may include information from your accountant.

Will this be taxed or do I need to make a tax payment on these earnings?

All compensation will be subject to tax. The Ministry of Health will make all relevant tax deductions before payment of compensation.

Will I still be eligible for Live Organ Donor Compensation if I am taking sick leave or annual leave over the surgery and recovery time?

People can choose to take sick leave or annual leave over the surgery and recovery time. If you choose to do this you will not receive compensation as you have not lost income as a result of making the donation.

Can I get this payment if I am already on a benefit?

You will not be eligible for the Live Organ Donor Assistance if you are already getting a main benefit from the Ministry of Social Development. Talk to your case manager at Work and Income who can tell you what your options are. However, you will be eligible under the new Act.

Are my travel and accommodation costs covered?

You may be entitled to have some of your travel and accommodation costs associated with the organ donor surgery reimbursed. Funding for this is the responsibility of the hospital where the person receiving your organ lives.

You will need to make an application under the National Travel Assistance policy. You can find the information here:  http://www.health.govt.nz/system/files/documents/pages/nta-policy-guide-v2-nov2010.doc.pdf

The NTA policy and the Live Organ Donation Travel and Accommodation Cost Reimbursement Protocol describe what you will be entitled to: http://www.health.govt.nz/system/files/documents/pages/live-organ-donor-travel-accommodation-cost-reimbursement-protocol-apr17.pdf

Can I get child support and/or home help when I come home from surgery?

No, this is not available through this Act. For more information call the Work and Income Contact Centre on 0800 559 009 or go to www.workandincome.govt.nz/individuals/a-zbenefits/live-organ-donor-assistance.html

Who will make the payment?

From 5 December 2017 the Ministry of Health will manage the payments, working closely with hospitals and regional transplant coordinators.

Until the Ministry takes this over, Work and Income will provide live organ donors with some financial assistance.

The Ministry of Health is currently working on the new process for Live Organ Donation Compensation and more information will be available soon.

Information for overseas donors of live organs

Can I donate a kidney or part of my liver to a person living in New Zealand, if I am living overseas?

Yes, once you have successfully completed a medical check to make sure this type of surgery is suitable for you. You will need to come to New Zealand to have the donation surgery and the person you are donating the organ to must be eligible for transplant surgery within the New Zealand health system.

If you want to donate you will need to go through medical tests and checks to make sure this type of surgery is suitable for you.

For more information about eligibility for New Zealand health services: http://www.health.govt.nz/new-zealand-health-system/eligibility-publicly-funded-health-services/eligibility-questions-and-answers-consumers

How much will I be entitled to?

If you are eligible for organ donation you will be compensated for loss of earnings for up to 12 weeks from surgery. A doctor will decide when you are fit to return to work after the surgery and this will determine how long you will receive the compensation for. You will need to provide proof of your earnings.

Can I qualify for compensation for donor surgery if I am living overseas?

Compensation is available to anyone regardless of citizenship, residency or visa status who takes unpaid leave or stops working to allow the donation to go ahead. The donor surgery must take place in New Zealand and the person receiving the organ must be eligible for health services in New Zealand.

Can I get extra support for travel and accommodation assistance?

If you are an overseas donor you are entitled to travel and accommodation assistance within New Zealand. Your renal transplant coordinator, donor liaison coordinator or renal social worker at the hospital where the surgery will be carried out will provide information on this.

What happens between now and when the Act starts?

Do I get any financial help now if I want to donate?

Work and Income currently provides live organ donors with some financial assistance.

There is a change-over period and people who have been receiving financial assistance from 5 December 2016 to 5 December 2017 will be able to receive a lump sum for the difference between the payment made by Work and Income for their loss of income and what they would have been entitled to under the new process.

For more information call the Work and Income Contact Centre on 0800 559 009 or go to www.workandincome.govt.nz/individuals/a-zbenefits/live-organ-donor-assistance.html

When do I get the Live Organ Donor Compensation and how long do I get it for?

Live organ donors who qualify to donate will be compensated 100 percent of their earnings for up to 12 weeks following surgery. You will need to provide evidence of earnings. Payment will occur after the new process is set up.

How will I get paid?

You will continue to be paid Live Organ Donor Assistance by Work and Income until the Ministry of Health takes over the payments, by 5 December 2017.  For an application form call the Work and Income Contact Centre on 0800 559 009. 

You need to fill out this form and make an appointment to speak to a case manager at your local Work and Income service centre. There are several documents you may need to bring with you to this appointment. For further information go to https://www.workandincome.govt.nz/products/a-z-benefits/live-organ-donor-assistance.html

The Ministry of Health will provide details of its new process when it becomes effective, by 5 December 2017.

 

How do I claim the back payment?

The Ministry of Health is currently developing the process for this. All details will be available on its website www.health.govt.nz by 5 December 2017, when the first applications for back payment can be made.

Am I entitled to any compensation if I donated an organ before 5 December 2016, but I was still recuperating after that date?

Yes, both Live Organ Donor Compensation and travel and accommodation assistance can be claimed back to 12 September 2016. Claims can be made when the Ministry of Health takes over the compensation process, by 5 December 2017.

Donating an organ and what it will mean for you

Which organs can I donate?

Most live organ donors donate a kidney.  In some cases a person may donate part of their liver.

Where in New Zealand do live organ transplants take place?

In New Zealand kidney transplants are carried out in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch hospitals. Liver transplants are only carried out in Auckland.

While the donor surgery will happen in one of these hospitals, the assessment of whether you are a suitable donor can happen at a hospital closer to where you live.

Who are the hospital staff that would be involved in my care if I donate an organ?

A transplant coordinator and/or donor liaison coordinator will look after you before and after surgery. The coordinators are usually nurses who have experience in donation.  In some cases you will also see a hospital renal social worker or a psychologist.

If you are donating a kidney you will see a kidney specialist (known as a nephrologist).  If you are donating a liver, you will see a specialist from the Liver Transplant Unit in Auckland.

The specialist will assess your medical tests and talk to you about donating your organ, including any health risks.

A surgeon will carry out your surgery.  

In Christchurch or Wellington your kidney surgery will be carried out by a urology specialist. 

In Auckland your surgery (kidney or liver) will be carried out by a transplant surgical specialist.

How do I become a live organ donor?

If you are thinking about donating your kidney, you can contact the donor liaison coordinator or renal social worker at your nearest hospital to talk about what you need to know about donating a live organ.

Is it safe?

People can donate an organ if they have successfully completed medical tests and checks to make sure this type of surgery is suitable for them.

There is a risk with any surgery. That’s why live organ donors have health assessments before surgery and are carefully monitored after surgery.

If I donate, and need a kidney later on, will I be prioritised on the waiting list for a transplant?

You would be placed on the waiting list for a new organ. Kidney transplants are prioritised according to the National Kidney Allocation Scheme when they are required. Your specialist will discuss this risk with you before you donate.

How long would I be in hospital for?

Most people who donate a kidney or part of a liver are able to return home within a couple of weeks after surgery.

What happens if after the 12 week recuperation period I get complications as a direct result of the organ donation?

Your renal specialist will help you to manage this. You may be eligible for ACC assistance, depending on the cause of the complication.

Where can I get more information?

The following websites provide information about organ donation in New Zealand, including contact details:

Ministry of Health - www.health.govt.nz http://www.health.govt.nz/about-ministry/leadership-ministry/expert-groups/national-renal-transplant-service/organ-donor-resources

National Renal Transplant Service - http://www.health.govt.nz/about-ministry/leadership-ministry/expert-groups/national-renal-transplant-service

Organ Donation New Zealand - www.donor.co.nz

Kidney Health New Zealand - www.kidneys.co.nz

Live Kidney Donation Aotearoa - www.kidneydonor.org.nz

New Zealand Liver Transplant Recipients - www.livers.org.nz

Travel and accommodation assistance - http://www.health.govt.nz/about-ministry/leadership-ministry/expert-groups/national-renal-transplant-service/organ-donor-resources

 

 

Organ Donation

Sometimes when people are very ill, the only way they can recover or lead a normal life-style is to receive an organ transplant. This is when a healthy organ (such as heart, kidney or liver) is taken from somebody who has died and transplanted into the person whose own organ is not performing properly.

Organ donation is only possible when a person's brain has died and that person is on a ventilator in a hospital intensive care unit. People who are brain dead cannot breathe on their own, think or feel pain. There is absolutely no chance of recovery.

When the doctors believe that a person's brain is dead extensive tests are carried out. There has to be absolutely no chance of the person recovering. When the person is then declared dead, and if organs are suitable for transplantation, doctors will ask the family to consider organ donation. That is why it is important to tell your family if you want to be an organ donor, as if they are ever faced with such a decision it could be made easier should they know your wishes. There is no pressure on families to donate organs, and the doctors will understand totally should a family decide against it.

Donated organs give recipients the opportunity of a longer and better quality life. This is assisted by constantly improving surgical procedures and powerful drugs to encourage acceptance of the new organ. The success of organ transplants is now extremely good.

Answers to common questions...

Anyone up to 80 years old can be considered as an organ donor.
Your age and medical condition at the time of your death will determine which organs are suitable for donation.
Families can specify which organs and tissue are donated, you do not have to donate everything.
Religions support donation on the grounds that it is a gift of life to another person. If you are in doubt, you should talk to your minister, priest or elder.
Organ donation will not interfere with funeral arrangements such as an open casket, the body of the donor is treated with respect and any incisions are closed as usual after any surgical procedure.

The Need for Organs

At any one time there are about 400 to 500 New Zealanders waiting for the right organs to become available and many more wait for the transplantation of corneas, heart valves, bone or skin. Some of these people will die waiting for a heart, lung or liver. Others will remain very sick and in the case of kidney failure require regular dialysis treatment while waiting for a kidney.

Transplantation has advanced dramatically over the past 20 years. As a result, organs and tissue are transplanted successfully almost every week, saving lives and restoring eyesight, mobility and long term health to hundreds of people.

Organ donors offer the gift of life.

For further information about organ donation in New Zealand
Call 0800 4 DONOR
Or visit www.donor.co.nz