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HAP Applauds Introduction of Pennsylvania Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment Legislation

April 18, 2017

Proposed Bills Would Help Patients Better Plan for Their Care

The Hospital and Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania’s (HAP) President and CEO Andy Carter today joined providers, advocates, and lawmakers from across the commonwealth to praise the introduction of legislation to codify Pennsylvania Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment (POLST) as an option for patients and their families.

Companion legislation was introduced in the Senate as SB 623 (sponsored by Sen. Gene Yaw and in the House as HB 1192 (sponsored by Rep. Bryan Cutler).

“The bills provide consistency and clarity to POLST, which will help patients and their families communicate decisions surrounding life-sustaining treatment across all settings of health care, as well as help care providers in many settings, including hospitals, to better understand a patient’s wishes toward end-of-life care,” said Carter.

“HAP is dedicated to helping Pennsylvanians become their own health care advocates. POLST education and use of the POLST form helps patients take charge of their care decisions, giving them a tool to make their wishes known.”

The POLST process offers patients the option to dictate their wishes about a variety of life-sustaining matters, including medical interventions (such as resuscitation, feeding methods, and administration of medication), transportation methods, and other treatments or procedures.

HAP has worked closely with the Pennsylvania Medical Society, other health care provider organizations, faith-based groups, consumer advocates, the Aging Institute at UPMC Senior Services and the University of Pittsburgh, the Pennsylvania Department of Health, and members of the General Assembly to craft and support this legislation.

“We are pleased that legislators are recognizing the need to provide patients and families with more resources to assist them in making often-difficult health care decisions that could result from advanced illness,” Carter continued.

“The standardized form is easy to understand and works hand-in-hand with advanced directives. This is just another example of a coalition of health care champions working together to help patients receive the right care, in the right place, at the right time.”

Both bills await consideration by their respective standing committees in the House and Senate. 

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