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Sen. William Haine receives Gift of Life Award from Mid-America Transplant

Posted September 21, 2015 in News Category
mts8717croppedwebresSen. William Haine received the Gift of Life Award at a ceremony in Edwardsville. Pictured from left: Madison County Coroner Steve Nonn; Madison County Chairman of the Board Alan Dunstan; MTS Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Diane Brockmeier; Sen. William Haine; Sen. Haine’s wife, Anna; Donor Family member Evelyn Meyer and her daughter Lori Prather; and MTS Foundation Board Chairman Dr. Richard Ellerbrake.

Sen. William Haine (D-Alton) was honored today with a Gift of Life Award by Mid-America Transplant Services for his legislation to improve the organ and tissue transplant process in Metro East.

Haine was the sponsor of House Bill 4120, legislation to improve the tissue and organ donation process in Illinois and save lives. The legislation, which passed both houses of the legislature without a single no vote and was signed into law, enables a better process for tissue and organ donors by allowing donations to occur at Mid-America Transplant Services’ state-of-the-art facility in St. Louis.

“This legislation will fix a technical problem in Illinois law that prevents a funeral director from transporting a donor across state lines for tissue or organ donation,” said Diane Brockmeier, Mid-America Transplant Services’ Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer. “Sen. Haine is receiving this award because he is truly committed to helping those needing transplants, and we are happy that Gov. Rauner signed this life saving legislation.”

senhainewebresSen. William Haine

“I am thrilled to see this legislation gain such great support and to see it signed into law,” said Haine. “Every minute counts when it comes to tissue and organ donations. This legislation allows for a better process so those who need organ and tissue donations are able to receive them quickly, thereby increasing the likelihood of successful recovery and saving lives.”

The law had no opposition and it was strongly supported by the Illinois Funeral Directors Association and Gift of Hope, a federally designated Organ Procurement Organization based in the Chicago area.

The law was chiefly sponsored by Rep. Dan Brady and Sen. Haine. Co-sponsors in the House are: Frank Mautino, Dan Beiser, Jay Hoffman, Jerry Costello, John Cavaletto and Patti Bellock. In the Senate, co-sponsors are Senators Pamela Althoff, James Clayborne, Gary Forby, John Mulroe, Dave Luechtefeld and Kyle McCarter.

The law makes the following improvement to the tissue and organ donation process:

  • Better for donors and transplants: This legislation will repair a technical problem with Illinois law. Previous regulations prevented a funeral director or transporter from taking a donor directly to an out-of-state organ and tissue recovery facility. Mid-America Transplant Services has a state-of-the-art facility in St. Louis for organ and tissue donation. However, under the previous law, the donation must have occurred at hospitals in Illinois, which hurt the transplant and donation process and ties up hospital operating rooms.
  • Protects funeral directors: The legislation is necessary because an Illinois funeral director or transporter could receive a large fine if they transported a donor across state lines for tissue or organ donation.
  • Streamlines the process: This legislation eliminates an unnecessary regulation and paperwork burden.

Since 1974, Mid-America Transplant Services (MTS) has facilitated the organ and tissue donation process for a service area of 4.7 million people in eastern Missouri, southern Illinois, and northeast Arkansas. Committed to an innovative approach, MTS is the first Organ Procurement Organization (OPO) in the nation to utilize an in-house operating room model for organ recovery and the first to operate license offices to increase community support through donor registry enrollment. Located in St. Louis, MTS is a not-for-profit organization and is one of 58 federally designated OPOs of its kind in the United States.

Mid-America Transplant Services organizes tissue and organ donations for the following counties in the Metro East and Southern Illinois: Alexander, Bond, Clinton, Franklin, Gallatin, Hardin, Jackson, Jefferson, Jersey, Johnson, Madison, Marion, Massac Monroe, Perry, Pope, Pulaski, Randolph, St. Clair, Saline, Union and Wabash counties.
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