Senate approves Marleau health-registry bill, sends to governor

LANSING?The Michigan Senate on Wednesday unanimously passed a measure to create a website for state residents that would allow loved ones and health care providers to know their end-of-life wishes, said sponsor Sen. Jim Marleau.

If the bill becomes law, as expected, Michigan residents will be the first to have these instructions accessible no matter where they travel in the country.

“I expect Michigan to become the national model for states across the country for legislation establishing these important websites,” said Marleau, chair of the Senate Committee on Health Policy. “I’m proud that we’re the first state in the nation to do this.”

Senate Bill 723 would create the Peace of Mind Registry, a secure database providing health care providers access to a patient’s advance directives. Advance directives are legal documents allowing individuals to specify patient advocates, religious preferences, and other decisions about end-of-life care ahead of time.

“The decisions we make about the care we want at the end of our lives are extremely personal and important,” said Marleau, R-Lake Orion. “Making these decisions accessible to doctors, and especially our loved ones, will substantially improve quality of life and give peace of mind.”

Currently there is no way for health care providers in the state to access their patients’ advance directives. Marleau’s bill addresses that need.

The lawmaker said the registry is not funded by Michigan taxpayers.

“It is free and voluntary. All costs are covered by the registry itself,” Marleau said.

SB 723 has been sent to the governor to be signed into law.