|Posted:||February 1, 2017 09:40 AM|
|From:||Representative Bryan Cutler and Rep. David S. Hickernell|
|To:||All House members|
|Subject:||Codification of PA Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment (POLST)|
|In the near future, we plan on introducing legislation that would amend Title 20 (Decedents, Estates and Fiduciaries) of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes to update and revise Pennsylvania law to include the codification of Pennsylvania Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment (POLST) to be used by medical professionals across all health care settings for patients who voluntarily wish to execute a POLST order. POLST orders are different from advance directives in that POLST orders convert an individual’s wishes regarding health care into a medical order that is immediately actionable and applicable across all health care settings. In contrast, advance directives often only name a surrogate decision-maker to make health care decisions for the individual or often lack specificity as to the individual’s goals and preferences for a medical condition that subsequently develops because it was not foreseen by the individual.
In 2006, Title 20 was amended by Act 169 to update the procedures for living wills, health care powers of attorney and out-of-hospital do not resuscitate (OOH-DNR) orders. In addition, Act 169 created a committee to assist the Department of Health (DOH) in determining the advisability of using a standardized form containing orders by qualified physicians that detail the scope of medical treatment for patients’ life-sustaining wishes. However, Act 169 did not mandate the use of a POLST form as a medical order. My legislation will codify a POLST form that may be used by individuals wishing to designate end of life wishes and discontinue the use of OOH-DNR orders following the effective date of my legislation.
The first part of our legislation will update Chapter 54 of Title 20 to include the recognition of POLST orders. The majority of our legislation creates new Subchapter F known as the Pennsylvania Order for Life Sustaining Treatment Act. New Subchapter F will:
Individuals should have the right to dictate end-of-life decisions in a manner that is sensitive to the situation at hand while also providing clear direction to medical professionals making treatment decisions on behalf of the individual.
Please join us in support of this legislation.
Introduced as HB1196