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September 03. 2013 8:00PM

Legislative group seeks public input on end-of-life care in NH

CONCORD — End-of-life decisions will be the focus of a legislative study group, which is seeking the public’s input on the issue.

Senate Bill 17, which establishes the Commission to Study Palliative Care, was approved last session by lawmakers and signed into law by Gov. Maggie Hassan.

The bill’s sponsor and a member of the committee, Sen. John Reagan, R-Deerfield, said there is a growing need for palliative care and hospice services in the state.

“Having experienced first-hand one of my loved ones needing these services, myself, and several other legislators, wanted to study the current level of awareness, access and options concerning this important type of end-of-life care that touches the lives of so many Granite Staters,” Reagan said.

“To develop a more complete picture of where things currently stand, we’re looking for the public’s input regarding quality-of-life initiatives and other types of approaches it might be wise to also consider.”

The commission’s duties include: Assessing citizens’ knowledge of palliative care and hospice services; evaluating access, effectiveness, utilization and timeliness of palliative and hospice care; possibly requiring continuing education for health care providers involved with palliative, hospice, and pain management services; ways to increase the public’s knowledge and use of advanced directives, including life sustaining treatment; and whether insurance coverage affects a person’s use of palliative and hospice care.

The meeting will be Sept. 12 at 10 a.m. in Room 303 of the Legislative Office Building.

Along with legislators and state agency representatives, commission members include a physician and nurse specializing in palliative care, a social worker, a member of the clergy, and representatives from hospice, homecare and nursing homes.

The public may comment by contacting Reagan’s office at 271-4063 or email kathryn.cummings@leg.state.nh.us.


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