Family Health Care Decisions Act Approved After 17-Year Fight

March 1, 2010

Tonawanda – State Assemblyman Robin Schimminger (D, C, I- Kenmore) stated, “It’s been 17 long years in the making, but the Family Heath Care Decisions Act has finally been passed by both the Assembly and the Senate. For too long hospice and other health care providers have witnessed countless tragic situations unfold when a health care proxy had not been completed and a situation arose where difficult decisions needed to be made. This bill, of which I was a lead co-sponsor and strong advocate for its passage, will enable a family member to make health care decisions when the patient is unable to voice their wishes. I urge Governor David Paterson to sign this into law.

New York is only one of two states whose laws give no legal authority to a spouse, domestic partner or other family member to make health care decisions when the patient lacks the ability to make those decisions and did not sign a healthy care proxy. The Assembly passed the Family Health Care Decisions Act several times over the years, but had little success in the Senate. However, last Wednesday the Legislature moved one step closer to addressing this situation. It is now up to the Governor to take that final step and sign this into law.”