Michigan residents first to access their advance directives nationwide
LANSING―Gov. Rick Snyder signed legislation Tuesday making Michigan residents the first to have their health care wishes accessible wherever they travel in the United States, said the bill’s sponsor, Sen. Jim Marleau.
The Peace of Mind registry will store advance directives, which are legal documents allowing individuals to specify their patient advocates, religious preferences, and other decisions about their health care ahead of time.
Marleau said he expects Michigan’s new law to become the national model for other states desiring to pass similar legislation.
“With Michigan’s Peace of Mind registry we will lead the nation in empowering residents to control access to their health care wishes,” said Marleau, chair of the Senate Health Policy Committee. “Through working together and involving organizations across Michigan, we were able to do this first. States across the country already recognize the importance of making this information accessible to residents, but we’re the first to design a model.”
Public Act 179 of 2012 (Senate Bill 723) creates the Peace of Mind registry, a secure database providing health care providers access via the registry’s website to a patient’s advance directives. Before Marleau’s law, there was no way for health care providers in the state to directly access their patients’ advance directives.
“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.”
The lawmaker said the registry is not funded by Michigan taxpayers.
“It is free and voluntary. While the Michigan Department of Community Health will retain oversight, the registry will be developed and maintained through financial support by Michigan’s Gift of Life Foundation,” Marleau said.
Editor’s note: A print-quality version of Marleau at Tuesday’s bill signing will be available later today.