The Organ Transplant Fund was established to assist Massachusetts residents with the uninsured cost of their medically approved transplants and related expenses.

Over 600 Massachusetts residents are being assisted by the Fund and over $2,000,000 has been reimbursed over the past 10 years.

The number of people assisted by the Fund has grown from 9 transplant recipients in 1986 to over 600 recipients in 1996 but donations have not increased.

Transplant recipients must remain on immuno-suppressive medications indefinitely in order to maintain their transplants. The cost of the immuno-suppressive medications is approximately $10,000 per year.

The Organ Transplant Fund consists of donations made by Taxpayers on their State Income Tax Returns or directly to the Fund. The average donation is approximately $4.30. Total annual donations in the past have ranged from $180,000 to $270,000.

Residents of the state are eligible for assistance with expenses not covered by insurance if they have received a functioning organ and earn less than $60,000 per year. Over 50% of the transplant recipients assisted by the Fund earn less than $20,000 per year.

Donations which were invested in the early years of the program are presently being used to meet the increased need for reimbursement ,for a growing number of recipients.

The Fund seeks appropriate applicants through indirect publicity and primarily through transplant social workers at transplant hospitals.

Over 60% of the Fund recipients have received kidney transplants. Recipients of other types of organ transplants receiving assistance are heart (11%), liver (11%), bone marrow (8%), heart-lung (4%), lung (2%), and kidney/pancreas (2%).

Recipients are very appreciative of the assistance from the Fund. As the mother of one young patient has written:

"I would like to thank you for your support at this time. It means a great deal to my family that there is help out there for us people who don't qualify for SSI or Medicaid. It is a financial strain on our family to keep up with the problems that go along with chronic illness in the family. May God bless all the people that supported this Fund to help people in need."

This information is provided by the Organ Transplant Services program within the Department of Public Health.