Do incentives matter? Providing benefits to families of organ donors.
Whether the number of organs available for transplant would be positively or negatively affected by providing benefits to families of organ donors has been debated by policymakers, ethicists and the transplant community at large. We designed a telephone survey to measure public opinion regarding the use of benefits in general and of five types in particular: funeral benefits, charitable contributions, travel/lodging expenses, direct payments and medical expenses. Of the 971 adults who completed the survey (response rate = 69%), all were from Pennsylvania households, 45.6% were registered organ donors, and 51.7% were nonwhite. Although 59% of respondents favored the general idea of incentives, support for specific incentives ranged from 53% (direct payment) to 84% (medical expenses). Among those registered as donors, more nonwhites than whites supported funeral benefits (88% vs. 81%; p = 0.038), direct payment (63% vs. 41%; p < 0.001) and medical expenses (92% vs. 84%; p = 0.013). Among those not registered as donors, more nonwhites supported direct payment (64% vs. 46%; p = 0.001). Most respondents believed that benefits would not influence their own behavior concerning donation but would influence the behavior of others. While benefits appear to be favored, their true impact can only be assessed through pilot programs.
Bryce, CL; Siminoff, LA; Ubel, PA; Nathan, H; Caplan, A; Arnold, RM
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