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Help the Enhanced Health Care Proxy become a Choice!!!

A Heath Care Proxy may not be enough! Guardianship may be too much! Help give those who are chronically ill or struggling with a complex acute illness a helping hand. Help our elderly manage their medical needs. Provide a safety net for transitioning young adults with complex medical conditions as they move from pediatric services to adult medical care. Support care giving and make it easier to help one another. Encourage legislators to create the Enhanced Health Care Proxy and give people a choice.

The Issue
Thanks to advances in health care, a “new” population is emerging and with it, “new” obstacles. Children with special health care needs, such as children with complex genetic diseases, are beating what once were terminal diagnoses and living into adulthood. Adult practitioners are often not ready for this influx of “new” patients. Their complex medical needs are extremely time consuming as well as unfamiliar since these diagnoses were never before part of adult care. This transition for families has been extremely difficult. At a time when it is important for consistency, an 18-year-old is suddenly expected to be autonomous and self determined in the face of new doctors and clinics. Likewise, with medical advances the elderly are living longer, often with more complicated medical lives. The help of a loved one in medical matters, without having to give up any rights to make final decisions, will offer the nation’s elderly valuable choices. Adding to the complexity of these issues is The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) Privacy and Security Rules. Though it was not the intent of the privacy law to make care giving so difficult, its interpretation has been tremendously variable to say the least. An Enhanced Health Care Proxy would also offer medical staff legal protection and clarity when consulting with a person’s family or friends.

The Proposal
This is not an isolated situation. This is a concern that is burgeoning as this “new” population of complex medical young adults is growing and older adults are living longer and longer. While obtaining Guardianship is one answer, it will not be accessible to everyone. The Enhanced Health Care Proxy (EHCP) would enabled the signer to designate someone that could speak on their behalf IMMEDIATELY UPON SIGNING rather than at the moment that they became incapacitated. The EHCP would be more accessible to families, prevent them from having to go through the court system and not cost anything. These families have enough to deal with.

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