New York State residents who want to appoint someone to make health care decisions for them if they themselves become incapacitated can do so by filling out a simple form called a health care proxy. Assemblyman Robin Schimminger announced today that the forms can be obtained by calling his office (873-2540) or by downloading the form from the New York State Health Department’s Web site at www.health.state.ny.us.
Schimminger, who co-sponsored New York State’s 1990 health care proxy law, said, "News coverage of Terri Schiavo’s tragedy has encouraged many people to think about their own health care planning. The health care proxy allows a person to designate someone who knows their wishes to act as their surrogate in case they become unable to make health care decisions for themselves." He explained that, contrary to what many people assume, New York State law does not automatically transfer full legal authority to make health care decisions from an incapacitated person to their next of kin.
The forms can be completed without the assistance of an attorney, but two adults must witness the signature of the individual making the designation. The health care proxy package includes a list of answers to frequently asked questions.