Relates to witnesses to a health care proxy; changes the witness requirement for the health care proxy from two adult witnesses to one adult witness; makes an exception for persons who reside in mental health facilities by requiring such persons to have two adult witnesses; also includes falsely making or altering a health care proxy within the crime of forgery in the second degree.
TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the public health law, in relation to witnesses to a health care proxy and to amend the penal law, in relation to the crime of forgery in the second degree
PURPOSE OR GENERAL IDEA OF BILL: To change the number of witnesses required for the appointment of a health care agent by health care proxy.
SUMMARY OF SPECIFIC PROVISIONS: Section 1 amends paragraph (a) of subdivision 2 of section 2981 of the public health law to require one adult witness present at the signing of a health care proxy, with the exception of persons residing at mental health facilities licensed by the state, who will sign health care proxies in the presence of two adult witnesses.
Section 2 amends the penal law to include a potential violation of this benefit under the crime of forgery in the second degree.
JUSTIFICATION: Individuals deserve to have their health care wishes honored, yet a large majority of New York residents do not have a health care proxy for times when they cannot express their health care preferences. As a result, their wishes are often unknown, and they might be given medical treatment that they would not want or not given treatment that matches their choices. This bill streamlines the process of assigning a health care proxy by reducing the number of witnesses required to be present at the signing of the proxy. The legislation makes an exception for those individuals who are more vulnerable by maintaining the requirement for two witnesses for individuals who reside in mental health facilities operated and licensed by the state. In these instances, the presence of two witnesses provides protection against exploitation.
PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: A.2186 of 2011-2012 A.3787 of 2009-2010 A.10581 of 2007-2008
FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: None.
EFFECTIVE DATE: This act shall take effect on the ninetieth day after it shall have become a law.
STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 4922 2013-2014 Regular Sessions IN SENATE May 1, 2013 ___________Introduced by Sen. SAVINO -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Health AN ACT to amend the public health law, in relation to witnesses to a health care proxy and to amend the penal law, in relation to the crime of forgery in the second degree THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. Paragraph (a) of subdivision 2 of section 2981 of the public health law, as added by chapter 752 of the laws of 1990, is amended to read as follows: (a) A competent adult may appoint a health care agent by a health care proxy, signed and dated by the adult in the presence of
[two]ONE adult [witnesses]WITNESS who shall also sign the proxy. HOWEVER, A PERSON WHO RESIDES IN A FACILITY OPERATED OR LICENSED BY THE OFFICE OF MENTAL HEALTH OR THE OFFICE FOR PEOPLE WITH DEVELOPMENTAL DISABILITIES, SHALL SIGN SUCH PROXY IN THE PRESENCE OF TWO ADULT WITNESSES WHO SHALL ALSO SIGN THE PROXY. Another person, WHO SHALL NOT BE A WITNESS, may sign and date the health care proxy for the adult if the adult is unable to do so, at the adult's direction and in the adult's presence, and in the presence of [two adult]THE WITNESS OR witnesses who shall sign the proxy. The WITNESS OR witnesses shall state that the principal appeared to execute the proxy willingly and free from duress. The person appointed as agent shall not act as witness to execution of the health care proxy. S 2. Subdivision 1 of section 170.10 of the penal law, as amended by chapter 949 of the laws of 1984, is amended to read as follows: 1. A deed, will, codicil, contract, assignment, commercial instrument, credit card, as that term is defined in subdivision seven of section 155.00, HEALTH CARE PROXY UNDER ARTICLE TWENTY-NINE-C OF THE PUBLIC HEALTH LAW, or other instrument which does or may evidence, create,EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted. LBD04427-01-3 S. 4922 2
transfer, terminate or otherwise affect a legal right, interest, obli- gation or status; or S 3. This act shall take effect on the ninetieth day after it shall have become a law.