2017 Legislative Initiatives

As veterans die while waiting for organ transplants, Texans lead fight to fix VA policy

Published on July 5, 2017

The number of veterans who have died waiting for a transplant is “in the thousands,” according to estimates by self-proclaimed whistleblower Jamie McBride, the program manager for solid organ transplantation for the South Texas Veterans Healthcare System. Since 2012, McBride has been working to expose issues with transplant policy, taking his concerns to the the offices of the inspector general, medical inspector, and secretary of veterans affairs.

When Charles Nelson — a disabled Army veteran from Leander — learned he would need a kidney transplant, his son volunteered.

Coty Nelson, 28, was a perfect match. And the Nelsons qualified for a program called Veterans Choice that let them receive care at a local facility instead of traveling out of state to a Veterans Affairs transplant center.

But Coty isn’t a veteran — so that means they couldn’t get coverage under the program.

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Veterans Transplant Coverage Act of 2017

Published on July 1, 2017

This bill authorizes the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to: (1) provide for an operation on a live donor to carry out a transplant procedure for an eligible veteran notwithstanding that the live donor may not be eligible for VA health care, and (2) provide for such an operation at a VA or a non-VA facility.

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