SENATE AND HOUSE PASS LEGISLATION TO MODERNIZE AND SIMPLIFY PROCEDURES FOR LIVING WILLS

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Sen. Joe Foster

Phone: 603 271-3569

Email: joseph.foster@leg.state.nh.us

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

CONCORD , NH – Today, the Senate and House passed the agreement on HB 656, legislationthat revises the laws relative to living wills and durable powers of attorney for health care and establishes procedures for Do Not Resuscitate Orders.

“HB 656 honors the wishes of a patient at the end of life,” said Senate Judiciary Chairman Joseph Foster (D- Nashua). “This bill has to do with personal freedoms. It ensures patients will receive treatment when needed, but it will not force them to receive unwanted medical procedures that will cause harm and not extend life.”

This legislation encourages people to think about preparing living wills and advance directives that will guide their medical care at the end of life. The bill simplifies the process for completing forms, making it easier for them to be prepared when they enter a hospital or other settings.

HB 656 does not prevent someone who has filled out the documents from changing their mind. The legislation also includes physicians in all end of life decisions.

“Passage of this legislation demonstrates how deeply the NewHampshire Senate values personal freedom and independence,” concluded Sen. Joe Foster. “The state will respect the wishes of patients and their families at one of the most difficult time in their lives.”

HB 656 was sponsored by Rep. Sokol, Rep. Hammond, Rep. MacKay, Rep. Millham, Rep. Hager, Sen. Odell, Sen. Foster and Sen. Estabrook.