Tuesday, May 05, 2009

New Advance Directive Form Released

Recently, Robert B. Wolf, Esq., of Pittsburgh, PA, sent an email alert to his "P & T Hot Tip" recipients and to the Pennsylvania members of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel regarding a newly-revised Health Care Power of Attorney and Living Will document developed and posted jointly by physicians and lawyers in Western Pennsylvania.

With his permission I repost his message, with links added.

I am pleased to advise that last week the Board of the Allegheny County Medical Society approved a Durable Health Care Power of Attorney and Living Will document and brochure updated for Act 169 and which was already been approved by the Probate & Trust, Elder Law and Health Law Sections and the Board of Governors of the Bar of the Allegheny County Bar Association.

It is available for FREE DOWNLOAD and use by attorneys, physicians, other health care providers and the general public as a public service by the Allegheny County Bar Association and the Allegheny County Medical Society.

It can be found within the ACBA site under "For the Public" [here].

At the present time, the form and brochure is the only one in Pennsylvania jointly endorsed by a Bar Association and a Medical Society. The form and brochure will be copyrighted, so it may not be altered and retain the endorsement logos of the two associations.

Of course, filling it in for an individual client and reproducing it is perfectly fine -- it is the intended use.

In the near future there will be a news release to the media and the general public but not until decisions have been made relative to the availability of hard copies, and likely an electronic fill-in form.

There were a total of close to a quarter of a million copies of the original form endorsed in 1993 distributed in the decade following its endorsement and publication. The surprising thing is that more than half of the total were sent out in individual orders of one or two copies at a time indicating that the promotion efforts successfully reached households in western Pennsylvania (and to some degree across Pennsylvania).

This is an opportunity for attorneys who have not already done so to consider updating or revising their forms to take Act 169 into account and to consider reaching out to their clients to be sure that these important documents are up to date.
The Allegheny County Medical Society recently referenced, under its "News & Events" heading Revised Health Care Power of Attorney and Living Will Available, that there was a development, but the text links to a web page previously posted by ACMS in 2007, not recently updated.

That web page provided an introduction to Pennsylvania's Advance Care Directive law, effective January 29, 2007, which authorized such modern health care decision making documents.
A quick overview of Act 169 which may be helpful for you, as well as a more detailed summary of the Act which may be informative to your physician and helpful to your attorney, are available at the website for the Pennsylvania Medical Society.

Additional more technical legal information can be found at [PA HealthCare DecisionMaking]. * * *

If you have further questions, we suggest that you discuss them with your attorney and your physician. * * *

Interestingly, the Advance Health Care Directive form still linked on that web page on the Allegheny County Medical Society (PDF) is that produced in 1994 by both organizations, not yet the 2009 form already posted by the Allegheny County Bar Association (PDF). Certainly, use the newer form.

[Update: 05/14/09 -- I am pleased that the Allegheny County Medical Society updated its Advance Health Care Directive webpage since my original posting, to accurately reflect the "
Revised Advanced Directive and Health Care Power of Attorney now available." See: 2009 form posted by the ACMS, which is identical to that posted by the ACBA. The link to the 1994 form was removed. Unfortunately, so was the text that contained the link mentioned below. C'est la vie! It was nice while it lasted.]

As author of the
PA HealthCare DecisionMaking website, I am pleased that it is listed by ACMA as a reliable resource regarding Chapter 54 of Title 20 of PA statutes.

As a patient and as a citizen, I am pleased that the lawyers and physicians in Western Pennsylvania cooperated in producing this updated, reliable document for use by anyone at no cost.