Legislature(2001 - 2002)

04/24/2001 03:08 PM HES

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
HB 197-HEALTH CARE SERVICES DIRECTIVES                                                                                        
CHAIR DYSON announced  that the final order of  business would be                                                               
HOUSE BILL NO.  197, "An Act relating to  directives for personal                                                               
health care services and for medical treatment."                                                                                
MELANIE LESH,  Staff to Representative Bill  Hudson, Alaska State                                                               
Legislature, came  forth on behalf of  the sponsor of HB  197 and                                                               
stated  that reference  has  been made  in the  bill  on page  2,                                                               
Section 2 [of the proposes  committee substitute (CS) for HB 197,                                                               
22-LS0712\C,  Bannister,  4/12/01],  that the  Five  Wishes  form                                                               
containing the health care directives  is more or less sanctioned                                                               
by  the state.   It  states, "a  person may  use a  form that  is                                                               
substantially  similar  to  the   Five  Wishes  form  for  making                                                               
directives  [related  to the  person's  health  care and  death,]                                                               
including designating  another person  to act as  an attorney-in-                                                               
fact or other agent".                                                                                                           
Number 0628                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE JOULE made  a motion to adopt the  proposed CS for                                                               
HB 197, 22-LS0712\C, Bannister, 4/12/01,  as a work draft.  There                                                               
being no objection, Version C was before the committee.                                                                         
REPRESENTATIVE WILSON stated that  she wasn't present during [the                                                               
first hearing of the bill], and asked for an explanation.                                                                       
CHAIR DYSON  explained that a  group of  people who have  been in                                                               
hospice care  and deal  with people  who are  dying have  come up                                                               
with the Five Wishes of what  people can indicate what they would                                                               
like to have done as they are dying.                                                                                            
Number 0743                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  STEVENS  moved  to   report  [CS]HB  197  out  of                                                               
committee  with individual  recommendations and  the accompanying                                                               
zero fiscal note.  [His motion was not addressed.]                                                                              
REPRESENTATIVE  COGHILL stated  that  he  thinks referencing  the                                                               
form and  having a list  of definitions is good.    He  asked, if                                                               
everything [in the  bill] is permissive and  nothing is mandated,                                                               
whether this is going to be sufficient.                                                                                         
MS. LESH  responded that the  other states that  have implemented                                                               
this  also  have  a  more  permissive  statutory  structure  that                                                               
enables this  to be  something a citizen  can take  advantage of,                                                               
but it's  not a mandatory  form.  People  in the legal  field [in                                                               
Alaska] have weighed  in on this and said that  they do wills and                                                               
trusts for businesses,  but would like this form  to be available                                                               
for people who can't hire attorneys.                                                                                            
REPRESENTATIVE  COGHILL   stated  that  this  is   a  contractual                                                               
framework that  would already be  legitimate if  the [legislature                                                               
didn't pass this bill].  He  said he is trying to understand that                                                               
MS.  LESH  stated  that  it is  her  understanding,  through  the                                                               
information received from Aging  With Dignity, that Alaska's laws                                                               
do conflict  and don't allow this.   [Alaska] is one  of the only                                                               
states that  has statutory inhibitions  to allowing this  form to                                                               
be  used legally  by  the average  person who  wants  to find  it                                                               
himself or herself.                                                                                                             
Number 0920                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  CISSNA   moved  to  report  [CS]HB   197  out  of                                                               
committee  with individual  recommendations and  the accompanying                                                               
zero fiscal note.                                                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE  WILSON stated  that [the  hospital she  works in]                                                               
already has  advanced directives.   She  asked if  most hospitals                                                               
have them.                                                                                                                      
MS. LESH  responded that the  advanced directives  [in hospitals]                                                               
are living-will advanced  directives that don't go  to the extent                                                               
of the  Five Wishes.   This expands  extensively the  options for                                                               
terminally ill individuals.                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE COGHILL remarked that it  has to be expressed with                                                               
caution that many  times these forms can be filled  out in a very                                                               
leading way.                                                                                                                    
Number 1017                                                                                                                     
CHAIR DYSON  announced that  there being  no objection,  CSHB 197                                                               
(HES)  was moved  from  the House  Health,  Education and  Social                                                               
Services Standing Committee.                                                                                                    

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