The California Medical Association has reported that California Governor Jerry Brown has signed Assembly Bill 637 into law, allowing Nurse Practitioners (NPs) and Physician Assistants (PAs) to sign and enact Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment (POLST) forms.
According to POLST.org, these forms are meant as “an approach to end-of-life planning…between patients, loved ones, and health care professionals designed to ensure that seriously ill or frail patients can choose the treatments they want…and that their wishes are documented and honored.”
The new law, effective January 1, 2016, is co-sponsored by CMA. In an online press release from CMAnet.org, the association cites the, “…importance of POLST as a tool for honoring end-of-life care preferences.” The press release also says that POLST helps patients to decide the extent of their care-options, making their end-of-life period much more satisfying through careful planning and communication with physicians. The law mandates that NPs and PAs be under the direction and scope of practice of a certified physician to sign a POLST form.
CMA also says that this new law will result in increased use of POLST overall. Included in the CMA press release are links to purchase POLST forms, which can be found here.
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