House Committee Hears Healthcare Decision Maker Bill

As a part of estate planning, many people sign a durable power of attorney for healthcare in order to identify a family member who can make decisions for them in the event they are unable to make decisions for themselves.  If a person hasn’t identified such a family member, however, healthcare providers must locate and identify the person who can make medical decisions for the incapacitated person.

HB 2502, sponsored by Rep. Joe Don McGaugh (R-Carrollton), sets forth a procedure for selecting the family member who will serve in this capacity and creates a mechanism for seeking court intervention when there is a conflict between family members.  It also sets out specific guidelines for the surrogate to assist them in making these decisions, since in many cases their family member hasn’t made their wishes known.

The MCC was actively involved in drafting the language of HB 2502 and supported this bill at the hearing this week before the House Civil and Criminal Procedure Committee.   The MCC particularly wanted to be sure the bill would not allow the surrogate to arbitrarily withdraw care from the incapacitated patient.  The bill is expected to move forward in the coming weeks.

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