NKF awards UnitedHealth Group for corporate innovation aimed at increasing living donation
The National Kidney Foundation has selected UnitedHealth Group as the recipient of its 2021 corporate innovation award, which will be presented at the organization’s virtual Spring Clinical Meetings.
According to a press release from the NKF, the award was designed to “recognize industry partners that have advanced the field of nephrology or transplantation by addressing an unmet medical need, through new programming or improving upon an existing practice, therapeutic or technology.”
With the launch of its Helping Employees Receive Organs (HERO) Program in 2020, UnitedHealth Group became the first large employer to cover living organ donation expenses for employees at other organizations, the release stated, noting that living donors do not need to be enrolled in a UnitedHealthcare plan or employed by a United Health Group to be eligible. The program offers financial support (related to lost wages, travel and lodging) to individuals who donate a kidney, liver or bone marrow to a company employee or family member.
“UnitedHealth Group is proud to support our employees with this unique benefit and we invite other companies to join us in working to remove the financial barriers for living organ donors,” Jon Friedman, MD, FAST, chief medical officer of Optum Medical Benefits Management and HERO Program co-creator, said in the release. “Not only will this program save lives, it offers a significant value to employers in reducing the cost of care for employees with both chronic and end-stage kidney disease.”
Kevin Longino, CEO of NKF, also commented on the program in the release.
“Eliminating financial barriers is key to increasing the number of living organ donations,” he said. “The National Kidney Foundation applauds UnitedHealth Group for its leadership role in setting this extraordinary precedent, and its willingness to share the financial and legal models it used to launch the HERO Program with any employer interested in extending this life-saving benefit to employees and potential future living organ donors.”
Visit our page for Healio Nephrology’s “live” coverage of the meeting from April 6 to 10.