The donor fund: A better accounting
By The Tribune-Review
Published: Thursday, Sept. 12, 2013, 8:55 p.m.
By not delivering the benefits that the state led contributing motorists to expect it would provide, Pennsylvania's Gov. Robert P. Casey Memorial Organ and Tissue Donation Awareness Fund has abused the public's trust.
Pennsylvanians giving $1 when renewing their vehicle registrations or driver's licenses have contributed about $10 million to the fund since 2000. About 10 percent supposedly was earmarked for organ donors' funeral and medical expenses, up to $3,000.
But a Trib investigation finds none of that money has been spent — and a smaller program to help living donors or deceased donors' families with hotel and meal bills, up to $300, has spent only $180,000 and hasn't reported results since 2011.
Shortly after 1994 legislation created the fund, the state Health Department's legal counsel decided payments from it could violate the federal organ-sales ban. State budget officials OK'd spending on organ-donor education and grants to organ-procurement groups instead.
State Rep. Joe Petrarca, D-Washington Township, has proposed updating the 1994 legislation to allow spending such money on medical, funeral and incidental expenses. That would enable the fund to meet the expectations that the state created in the minds of contributing motorists.
But to truly restore trust, the public needs to know why this fund's disconnect between expectations and reality has persisted so long — and how those responsible for such execrable deception are being held accountable.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Liquor privatization: Now’s the time
- Pittsburgh Laurels & Lances
- Alle-Kiski Laurels & Lances
- Greensburg Laurels & Lances
- Paying the ObamaCare premium
- The IRS mess: Name a special prosecutor
- The Thursday wrap
- The case of Beaver County Sheriff George David: He should be jailed pending trial
- Voter fraud: Multiple-voting Melowese Richardson gets a federal pass
- The equal pay ruse: Deceptive stats
- Vision needed: Retooling Kittanning