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HANYS Advocates for Family Health Care Decisions Act

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HANYS and representatives from nearly 20 organizations met with members of the State Legislature on Tuesday urging support of the Family Health Care Decisions Act. The legislation seeks to establish a procedure for making medical treatment decisions on behalf of individuals who lack the capacity to decide about treatment for themselves and have not designated a health care proxy.

HANYS has been a strong supporter of the legislation, which has been deliberated by lawmakers and advocates for 17 years. For the first time, however, the health committee chairs in each house, Senator Thomas Duane (D-Manhattan) and Assemblyman Richard Gottfried (D-Manhattan), have introduced identical legislation (S.3164-D/A.7729).

This bill would establish a process for the selection of a surrogate responsible for making medical treatment decisions on behalf of a patient. Above all else, the legislation would require all decisions to be made out of respect for, and in consideration of, the dignity and uniqueness of the patient.

The sponsors are currently working to determine whether the legislation would apply to situations governed by previously enacted legislation that addresses the same issues for people with intellectual/developmental disabilities. HANYS issued a memorandum in support of the legislation and will work with the sponsors to help this important legislation move forward. Contact: Julia Donnaruma

Published May 1, 2009