SB 493
Authorizes a health care decision-maker to make health care decisions for an incapacitated patient
LR Number:
Last Action:
4/10/2017 - Hearing Conducted S Judiciary and Civil and Criminal Jurisprudence Committee
Journal Page:
Calendar Position:
Effective Date:
August 28, 2017

Current Bill Summary

SB 493 - The act creates the Designated Health Care Decision-Maker Act. Under the act, the health care decisions concerning a patient who is incapacitated and who does not have a legally appointed guardian, an agent under a health care durable power of attorney, is not under the jurisdiction of the juvenile court, or does not have any other person who has legal authority to consent for the patient, may be made by the following persons listed by priority: 1) the spouse of the patient; 2) an adult child of the patient; 3) a parent of the patient; 4) an adult sibling of the patient; 5)a grandparent or adult grandchild; 6) the next nearest adult relative; 7) a religious person who is a member of the patient's community; or 8) a person unanimously agree upon by those in the priority list. Priority shall not be given to those listed if abuse or neglect is reported, the person with priority cannot be reached by the physician, if the probate court finds that the person with priority is making decisions contrary to the patient's instructions, or if the person is the subject of a court order that directs the person to avoid contact with the patient.

Any person interested in the patient's welfare, a health care provider, or a health care facility who disagrees with a health care decision may petition the probate court for the appointment of a guardian.

A designated health care decision-maker must make reasonable efforts to obtain information regarding the patient's health preferences and make decisions in the patient's best interests. Additionally, a designated health care decision-maker may make the decision to withdraw life support only in certain situations as specified in the act.

Once a health care decision-maker or physician believes that the patient is no longer incapacitated then the patient shall be reexamined. If the patient's physician determines that the patient is no longer incapacitated, then the determination shall be noted in the patient's medical record and the rights of the designated health care decision-maker shall end. A health care provider or facility may decline to comply with the decision of a health care decision-maker if the decision is contrary to the religious beliefs or moral convictions of the health care provider or facility.

No health care provider or health care facility that makes reasonable efforts to locate and communicate with a potential designated health care decision-makers shall be held liable for the effort to identify and communicate with a potential designated health care decision-maker. Likewise, a health care provider, health care facility or employee thereof, or a health care decision-maker shall not be held liable for certain actions if made in good faith and in compliance with the act.

These provisions are substantially similar to provisions in HCS/HB 144 (2017), HCS/HB 381 (2017), and HCS/HB 2502 (2016).