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No significant fiscal implication to the State is anticipated.
HB 2351 would add a new section to Chapter 166 (Advance Directives) of the Health and Safety Code. This new section would require each healthcare facility with a committee that reviews treatment decisions of an advance directive to adopt two new policies concerning the operation of that review committee:
Firstly, the healthcare facility must add a policy that would prevent any financial or healthcare conflicts of interest during a committee review of an advance directive.
Secondly, the healthcare facility must add a policy that would prohibit the committee from considering a patient’s permanent mental or physical disability during a review. However, the policy may include that the committee may consider the patient’s mental or physical disability if it is relevant in determining whether medical intervention is necessary.
An advance directive is a directive made by a patient, or a person who holds power of attorney over a patient, to instruct a physician to administer, withhold, or withdraw life-sustaining treatment in the event of a terminal or irreversible condition.
If a physician refuses to honor a patient’s advance directive or healthcare treatment an ethics or medical committee at that healthcare facility may review that physician’s decision. This legislation would require a healthcare facility to add two new policies to the rules that govern an ethics or a medical committee.
We are neutral on HB 2351. While we support the provision that would prevent conflicts of interests, we are neutral on the prohibition of considering a patient’s disability during a review. The latter policy would fall under a gray area involving social issues to an extent. For this reason, we do not comment on areas concerning such matters.