Published: 10/2/2020 – 

Who would speak for you if you could not speak for yourself? If you have appointed a Patient Advocate, would they be able to say what matters most to you to live life well?

Making Choices Michigan (MCM), a strategic business unit of MiHIN, has been helping community members create an Advance Directive (AD) document to help people identify their Patient Advocate and describe their preferences for care the past 8 years. One major challenge to completing the document, in both community and acute care spaces, is the document witness requirements.

The law describing the witness requirements was passed in 1998[i], well before the internet became a household word. The current requirements prohibit caregivers, including medical staff, to witness the AD. Additionally, anyone related to the person by blood, or who stands to inherit from the person may not sign. Effectively, only friends or strangers may witness the document. With COVID-19 visitation restrictions in place, hospitals are left with no way to get valid witnesses to legalize the document.

By updating the legislation to include a modification to who can witness, and adding the option of eSignature, MCM’s goal is to ease the process and improve a person’s chances of having their AD documented and stored in MiHIN’s MIGateway for easy access in time of need.  Numerous statewide hospital systems, community groups, and attorneys support this effort. Decisions this important should not be disregarded due to such a restrictive signature process.

To learn more about our efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic, click here.

  • [i]Public Act 386 of 1998: The Estates and Protected Individuals Code (a.k.a. EPIC)