Hoosier health care advance directive options may improve in 2019. If the Indiana General Assembly passes 2019 House Bill 1516 (HB 1516), the law will upgrade how Hoosiers plan for future health care decisions. This article describes current health care advance directive laws and how the new law may help Indiana health care patients.
Advance Directive Explanation
An advance directive is a person’s written statement that expresses the person’s plan for making his or her future health care decisions. Advance directives include appointments of health care representatives, living wills, and other health care decision documents. Some advance directives instruct how a person wants others to make important health decisions if the person becomes disabled in the future. Other advance directives appoint and authorize people to make important health decisions without instructions or limitations about the decisions.
Indiana’s 26-Year Old Advance Directive Laws
Indiana has not completely overhauled its medical consent laws since 1993. That year, the legislature updated requirements for living will declarations, life- prolonging procedures declarations, health care powers of attorney, appointments of health care representatives, and do not resuscitate orders. The 1993 laws improved how people could plan ahead for future medical decision crises, but the laws left undesirable gaps and limitations. Meanwhile, the health care profession and its medical treatment technologies have changed dramatically.
2016 POST Law and 2018 POST Form
Indiana’s 2016 Physician Orders for Scope of Treatment (POST) law gave to terminally ill and chronically ill patients a powerful health care planning tool. The 2018 POST form lets qualified patients and their physicians pre-plan more than five categories of medical treatment options.
HB 1516’s Advance Directives Improvements
A team of medical doctors, medical and nursing school professors, legislators, and members of the Indiana State Bar Association designed HB 1516 to update Indiana’s 26-year-old medical consent laws. The bill updates the current law to consider many of this century’s issues, such as nontraditional families, electronic records, and health care providers with advanced nursing degrees. The bill also corrects many of existing laws’ weaknesses and offers patients more useful medical decision tools.
Current Advance Directives “Grandfathered”
People’s current living wills, health care powers of attorney, and appointments of health care representatives would remain effective under the new law. However, all new advance health care directives made after December 31, 2022, must satisfy the requirements of the new law.
Additional Advance Directive Reading Material
Readers can find more advance directive information and resources on these webpages:
• Indiana General Assembly website for HB 1516, iga.in.gov/legislative/2019/bills/house/1516
• Indiana State Department of Health Advance Directives Resource Center, www.in.gov/isdh/25880.htm
• National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2980344/
• Indiana Legal Services, Inc., indianalegalservices.org/node/292/general-information-about-advance-directives
• hawkinslaw.com, hawkinslaw.com/indianas-new-and-improved-post-form/
• hawkinslaw.com, hawkinslaw.com/hoosier-hospitals-should-stop-asking-patients-about-living-wills/
• hawkinslaw.com, hawkinslaw.com/non-traditional-households-require-special-planning/
• hawkinslaw.com, hawkinslaw.com/too-young-to-plan-think-again/
• hawkinslaw.com, hawkinslaw.com/plans-for-final-illness-death-and-human-remains-disposition/
About the Authors
Jeff R. Hawkins and Jennifer J. Hawkins have practiced in the areas of trusts, estates, and elder law for over 26 years. Both lawyers are Trust and Estate Specialty Board Certified Indiana Trust and Estate Lawyers and active members of the Indiana State Bar Association and National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys. Both lawyers are admitted to practice law in Indiana, and Jeff Hawkins is admitted to practice law in Illinois. Jeff is also a registered civil mediator, a Fellow of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel and the Indiana Bar Foundation; a member of the Illinois State Bar Association and the Indiana Association of Mediators; and he was the 2014-15 President of the Indiana State Bar Association. Find more information about these and other topics at www.HawkinsLaw.com. © Copyright 2019 Hawkins Law PC. All rights reserved.