2009 -- S 0857

Enacted 05/12/09



S E N A T E  R E S O L U T I O N




     Introduced By: Senators C Levesque, and Perry

     Date Introduced: April 22, 2009



     WHEREAS, All Rhode Islanders value dignity, independence and self-determination;


     WHEREAS, There are unfortunate circumstances during which one might lose the ability

to express decisions about one's medical and personal care preferences; and

     WHEREAS, It is important for adults to consider and express such wishes in advance, as

accident or illness can befall any individual at any time; and

     WHEREAS, Rhode Island has enacted statutes providing for legally binding advance

directives, including the durable power of attorney for health care and the living will, which may

be signed on a voluntary basis; and

     WHEREAS, The Federal Patient Self-Determination Act requires hospitals, nursing

homes, hospice organizations and home health agencies to inform patients about their rights,

under state law, to control their medical treatment and provide advanced directives; and

     WHEREAS, It is essential for health care providers to know an individual's wishes and

the identity of the designated surrogate decision-maker. Signing an advance directive not only

ensures the wishes of an individual are carried out but it can also significantly reduced health care

costs, and may spare loved ones the complex task of making difficult and emotional medical and

personal care decisions; and

     WHEREAS, Numerous technological advances, including the use of electronically-

transmitted advance directive documentation and online advance directive registries, have

improved the advanced medical decision-making process; and

     WHEREAS, Despite such improvements, Rhode Island residents continue to face

informational and emotional barriers to the effective use of advance directives. There is a

continuing need for education and for allowing each individual a meaningful opportunity to

exercise his or her right; now, therefore be it

     RESOLVED, That this Senate of the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations

hereby respectfully requests that the Rhode Island Department of Administration, in partnership

with the Rhode Island Department of Health, develop a plan to provide educational information

to all state employees receiving health insurance coverage through the state, regarding advanced

directives for medical decision-making; and be it further

     RESOLVED, That this Senate hereby respectfully requests the Department of Human

Services to consider the formation of a similar plan for all Medicaid recipients within the State of

Rhode Island; and be it further

     RESOLVED, That the Secretary of State be and he hereby is authorized and directed to

transmit duly certified copies of this resolution to the Directors of the Departments of Health,

Administration, and Human Services.