Earlier articles have talked about how you can control your final moments and also how you want to be remembered. This year National Healthcare Decisions Day is a week long event beginning April 16 and ending on April 22. Such recognition provides a reminder that having an advance medical directive and a living will in which you express your wishes regarding medical care, if you cannot decide, and whether you want life-prolonging procedures, are crucial components in every estate plan. Several states and the District of Columbia have addressed end of life decision-making through death with dignity statutes. But, regardless of your position on death with dignity statutes, end of life decision-making and advance healthcare planning is a necessary conversation to have and to share with your loved ones and National Healthcare Decisions Day (or for this year week) helps remind us of the need to begin the dialog on the subject. @deathwdignity @NHDD #livingwill #estateplanning #endoflife #advancedirective #NHDD
An update regarding the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (“CMS”) new rule banning the use of binding pre-dispute arbitration agreement by nursing homes that accept Medicare and Medicaid patients. As was expected, the nursing home industry has fought back and filed suit in the Northern District of Mississippi. In a 40 page Order, a Federal District Court Judge has granted the preliminary injunction requested by the American Health Care Association and several nursing homes. In the opinion, the Judge recognized the position many families find themselves in cases of abuse and neglect when dealing with the nursing home, but indicated that CMS may have overstepped its authority in issuing the rule, and therefore, enjoined CMS from enforcing the rule until the courts could resolve the issue or Congress passed legislation. Therefore, nursing homes will continue to be able to include such provisions in their contracts. Furthermore, with the election in the rear view mirror, only time will tell what will become of this rule. #elderlaw #elderabuse #nursinghome #arbitrationbanned
Also, a brief update that the Death with Dignity Act in the District of Columbia has cleared the last hurdle before going to Mayor Muriel Bowser. The vote of the D.C. Council was again 11-2 and was passed with an amendment requiring some level of annual reporting by the Department of Health. The Act is expected to become law, but Congress still has oversight and the Act may still be overturned. However, at this juncture D.C. joins Oregon, Washington, Vermont, California and Colorado in passing such legislation. As has been expressed before, the passage of this Act is a reminder to get your plan in place. #endoflife #estateplanning #advancedirective #livingwill @deathwdignity @bgnthebgn
As had been previously discussed, the District of Columbia was considering passing its form of the Death with Dignity Act (the “Act”) that is modeled after the Oregon law. The D.C. Council, in a 11 to 2 decision, voted in favor of the bill. A final vote must be held before the end of the year. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser has the ability to veto the bill, but in recent comments she indicated that she would not veto the bill and it would become law. Given D.C.’s status of not being a state, Congress will still have the ability to review and overturn the bill should it become law.
The Act allows a terminally ill individual who has received a prognosis of less than six months to request and receive medication that would end life. The individual must make two oral requests separated by at least 15 days to his or her physician. A written request must also be made before the second oral request is made and at least 48 hours must pass before the medication is received. The written request must be witnessed by two individuals who can attest that the decision to end life is voluntary. One of the witnesses has to be entirely independent, that is, not related or subordinate in some fashion. The individual has to be able to take the medication on their own without any help from medical professionals, caretakers, home healthcare aides, family or friends. Finally, the individual must be a resident of the District of Columbia. If the bill survives the second vote by the D.C. Council and Congressional review, D.C. will join Oregon, Washington, Vermont and California in enacting a death with dignity law. #endoflife #estateplanning #advancedirective #livingwill @deathwidignity @bgnthebgn
The District of Columbia is considering enacting the Death with Dignity Act (the “Act”) that would allow terminally ill individuals with six months or less to live the ability to receive a lethal dose of medication and end their life. Several procedural steps lie ahead for the Act now that the D.C. Council has voted to place the Act on the legislative agenda for an upcoming meeting. However, it is unclear whether there is sufficient support for the Act to be made into law. Arguments in favor of the Act revolve around giving an individual control over how and when they choose to die, but advocates against the Act are concerned that individuals’ lives will be prematurely terminated.
The issue once again raises the importance of planning. Planning for incapacity and planning for death. Both sides of the death with dignity argument seem to have a common thread involving control, which is exactly what planning gives you. Planning gives you control over who is in charge of your medical decisions when you are not able to make those decisions. Planning gives you control of whether you want life-prolonging procedures when doctors have certified that nothing more can be done except provide comfort care. Planning gives you control of how you want to be remembered in those final moments. Planning gives your family members peace of mind to know that they are truly abiding by your wishes, which in turn may make them feel as if they are in control of the situation. Planning gives your family time to prepare for a life without you in it and to try to control the emotional turmoil that realization creates. Ultimately, planning is a gift to yourself to know that that particular item on a lengthy checklist can be crossed off so that you can enjoy life knowing that your end of life is in the best order you can create. So, regardless of which side of the death with dignity argument you fall, think of the planning that can be done to control your death with dignity. #endoflife #estateplanning #advancedirective #livingwill @deathwdignity @NHDD @bgnthebgn