New Secretary of State Policy Boosts Organ Donor Registry

This guest post is by Sam R. Watson, senior vice president, Patient Safety and Quality at the Michigan Health & Hospital Association and executive director of the MHA Keystone Center for Patient Safety & Quality.

In April, Secretary of State Ruth Johnson addressed Michigan organ donation rates at the first-ever State of the Secretary of State address. Among the initiatives to improve organ donation was the establishment of a new Secretary of State branch policy requiring employees, when time permits, to ask customers if they are interested in joining the Michigan Organ Donor Registry. As a result of the new policy, registrations increased 20 percent in May 2011 over May 2010.

That same month, the Secretary of State office began issuing a newly designed driver’s license and personal identification card that places a “donor” heart designation in the lower right of the license to indicate an individual has joined the Michigan Organ Donor Registry.

Additional efforts to boost the percentage of donors in Michigan include adding reminders to some of the most widely distributed forms and applications at Secretary of State offices, using social media to promote registration and convening an advisory committee to discuss ways to develop innovative, yet cost-effective, approaches to promote organ, tissue and cornea donation.

Michigan Hospitals Aim to Increase Organ Donation

Nearly 3,000 Michigan residents are currently on the waiting list for a lifesaving organ transplant, and thousands more are in need of cornea and tissue transplants to help them regain sight and mobility. Michigan hospitals, in partnership with the MHA Keystone Center for Patient Safety & Quality and Gift of Life Michigan, aim to improve the number of eligible donors that result in donation and increase the number of organs transplanted per donor through the MHA Keystone: Gift of Life collaborative.

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