Indiana Health Care Consent Law Changes Coming Soon (July 1, 2018) to a Hospital Near You

We all make decisions about our health every day.  We take for granted our right to make these decisions.  Who will make decisions about your health when you become incompetent?

Indiana law currently have health care by committee (we see how well that is working in Washington) if you do not have a written advance directive.  Your committee consists of your spouse, your adult children, adult siblings, parents and thanks to the meth problem, your grandparents and adult grandchildren.  There is currently no priority order among your committee members; and like in the Senate, one committee member can create a problem for the entire committee.

This is going to change in Indiana as of July 1, 2018.  We will join the other 44 states that have a priority plan for folks who become incompetent who do not have an advance directive.  This priority order will be:

  1. A judicially appointed guardian of the person
  2. Spouse
  3. Adult Child
  4. Parent
  5. Adult sibling
  6. Grandparent
  7. Adult grandchild
  8. Nearing relative in next degree of kinship who is not listed in sections 2-7
  9. Friend who:
    1. Is an adult;
    2. Has maintained regular contact with the individual and;
    3. Is familiar with the individual’s activities, health and religious or moral beliefs.
  10. The individual’s religious superior, if the individual is a member of a religious order

Where there is more than one member of a voting group, they must try and reach a consensus of what should be done.  If they disagree, majority rules.

The following cannot make health care decisions:

  1. A spouse when there is a legal separation or the spouse is the reason you are in the hospital
  2. A person who is subjected to a protective order involving the individual
  3. A person who is subjected to pending criminal charges involving the individual
  4. A person you have intentionally excluded when you signed your advanced directive

When there is no advance directive and a person cannot consent to healthcare, the hospital must make a “reasonable inquiry” to determine who can consent for you.

Your health is your most important asset.  Take the time to name a health care representative or a health care power of attorney.  A health care representative form is found our website at  Complete the form, and see that the form is entered into your medical records.  Have a conversation with your health care representative about your wishes concerning your future care.

Respectfully submitted
Keith P. Huffman
February 2018

Categories: Article.