Kirchhofer’s bill creating hierarchy for health-care decisions now law

Kirchhofer’s bill creating hierarchy for health-care decisions now law

Posted by: Samantha N Holifield  | Wednesday, April 4, 2018 2:11 pm

STATEHOUSE (April 4, 2018) — Gov. Eric Holcomb ceremonially signed State Rep. Cindy Kirchhofer’s (R-Beech Grove) legislation into law on Wednesday ensuring the wishes of patients who are unable to give consent for medical procedures are honored. 

According to Kirchhofer, this new law creates a defined priority order, or hierarchy, for those authorized to provide consent, such as family members or close family friends, for medical procedures in the event a patient is incapacitated. Kirchhofer said creating this priority order will ensure time and resources are used effectively. 

“In medical emergencies, every second is crucial,” said Kirchhofer, chair of the House Committee on Public Health. “An established hierarchy is needed because if an immediate family member could not be reached to give consent for procedures, health-care providers would be forced to invest considerable amounts of time and resources to get a court-appointed guardian for the patient. Now medical professionals can consult a family member or close family friend and move forward with life-saving treatments more quickly and efficiently.” 

Additionally, this new law addresses physician order for scope of treatment or POST forms, which detail end-of-life care plans agreed upon by a patient and their physician. This legal document is binding and enforceable during medical emergencies, even if the patient is incapacitated. Without this new law, a doctor’s signature would be required for a POST form to be enforceable. Under Kirchhofer’s legislation, an advanced practice nurse or physician assistant could also implement POST forms in collaboration with a patient. This legislation also allows POST forms to be electronically signed. These changes align Indiana law with several other states, allowing POST forms to apply across state lines.

House Enrolled Act 1119 goes into effect July 1. Visit iga.in.gov to learn more about this new law.

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State Rep. Cindy Kirchhofer (R-Beech Grove) represents House District 89,;

which includes portions of Marion County.

PICTURED: Gov. Eric Holcomb signs State Rep. Cindy Kirchhofer’s (R-Beech Grove) legislation into law at the Statehouse on Wednesday, April 4, 2018. This new law ensures the wishes of patients who are unable to give consent for medical procedures are honored. Pictured left to right, seated: Kirchhofer, Holcomb and State Sen. Mike Crider (R-Greenfield). Standing: Julie Halbig, vice president of the Indiana Hospital Association; Dr. David Mandelbaum, medical director of Palliative Care Services for Franciscan Health Indianapolis and Mooresville;  Pamela Jones, general counsel for Franciscan Health Central Indiana; Zach Cattell, president of the Indiana Health Care Association; Laura McCaffrey, director of legislative relations for the Indiana Hospital Association; and State Sen. Ed Charbonneau (R-Valparaiso).