Archive for Thursday, February 24, 2005

Health committee tables ‘Alene’s Law’

Proposed bill to be reviewed during next year’s legislative session

February 24, 2005

The House Health and Human Services Committee decided Tuesday to table House Bill 2211, or "Alene's Law," a proposed bill that would require emergency medical attendants to honor durable power of attorney documents.

The bill was proposed to the committee at the request of Basehor woman Tammy Potts.

She contends the bill would protect Kansas residents and those entrusted with their care from similar circumstances that befell her mother, Alene Wilson of Basehor, during a medical call in November 2003.

Rep. Jim Morrison, R-Colby, is chairman of the health and human services committee.

A staffer in Morrison's office said committee members had to make a decision whether to forward H.B. 2211 to the House floor by Tuesday.

According to House rules, proposed bills must be sent to the House floor by Feb. 26 unless they're still in committee.

The staffer said Tuesday was the last day for the committee to consider 2211 because they were scheduled to be in session during the next few days.

The committee intends to revise 2211.

Rather than pushing 2211 forward without the necessary revisions, thereby risking its rejection from legislators, the committee tabled the item and will revisit it during next year's legislative session.

Last week, Potts testified before the committee and described the alleged actions of Leavenworth County EMS attendants in November 2003, which she claims led to her mother's untimely death.

During the call, Potts said paramedics ignored a durable

power of attorney document that she possessed, granting her the right to make medical decisions for her mother, who had fallen and broken a hip.

Wilson, who was diagnosed as suffering from dementia, told EMT's she didn't want to be taken to the hospital.

Potts told attendants to take her regardless.

The paramedics judged Wilson to be competent to make her own decision and left her at home without medical care.

House Bill 2211 would have required paramedics to honor power of attorney agreements during cases similar to Wilson's.

It also would have waived paramedics' liability for being charged with kidnapping or assault during cases in which they transported a patient contrary to their wishes, but at the behest of the person designated to make decisions for them.

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