Monday, March 1, 2010

FYI: "Life Panels" & end-of-life planning in NM

First an observation.
I missed KO's 'Special Comment' last week in which he introduced the term 'Life Panels' to describe the provision in the House version of the health-insurance reform bill that provides that insurance companies can be billed for 'end of life' consultations with physicians.
I praise the re-labeling, only wishing that others would follow suit.
(Rachel's contest to re-label the filibuster was imaginative, but the winner - "the Tarantino" (as in "Kill Bill") - is less-than-compelling - however popular-culture tuned-in and cute it might be.)

Second: Residents of New Mexico have available to them a handy form for 'end-of-life' planning - the "Advance Directive for Health Care, New Mexico".
You can designate an agent to act on your behalf if you are incapacitated, and stipulate that your chosen agent make decisions "in accordance with my wishes as stated in this document".
Various choices:
- Choose to prolong life OR choose NOT to prolong life OR choose to let agent decide.
- If NOT to prolong life...
... "I DO want artificial nutrition" OR "I DO NOT want artificial nutrition".
... "I DO want artificial hydration" OR "I DO NOT want artifician hydration".
Do you want relief from pain or discomfort. (The default is, "Yes".)
Other health care instructions or wishes - fill in the blank.

The form need not be notarized, only witnessed... but to forestall potential legal battles with other concerned parties, it's probably wise to have an official witness (e.g., notary).

My wife (breast cancer) and I (heart disease) have both completed the form - each designating the other as primary agent, and naming secondary & tertiary agents as well (just in case).

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