UofL geriatricians join Beshear for bill signing

MOST legislation creates new guarantees for end-of-life decisions
UofL geriatricians join Beshear for bill signing

A faculty physician and a staff member with the University of Louisville will join Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear as he signs Sentate Bill 77, legislation giving new guarantees to patients making end-of-life decisions.

The signing ceremony is set for 10:40 a.m. Tuesday, March 24, in Room 110 in the Kentucky Capitol in Frankfort. Participating from UofL will be Christian Furman, M.D., vice chair of geriatric medicine in the Department of Family and Geriatric Medicine and a geriatrician with University of Louisville Physicians-Geriatrics, and Mary Romelfanger, R.N., with UofL’s Institute for Sustainable Health Optimal Aging.

Under the new bill, an end-of-life order known as “medical order for scope of treatment,” or MOST, will be allowed in Kentucky. The legislation will create a form designed by the state Board of Medical Licensure to specifically direct the type of treatment a patient would like to have and how much medical intervention they want during end-of-life care. MOST forms are already in use in 32 other states.

Unlike advance directives, the orders are considered to be physician’s orders and are signed by both the patient or the patient’s legal surrogate as well as the physician.

Furman said that while many physicians discuss end-of-life care with their patients and families and document it, the information is often buried deep in the chart and is not easily accessible in an emergency situation.

"This issue comes to play on a daily basis," said Furman, who testified on behalf of the bill in February. “This legislation will ensure patients' wishes are honored when they have severe chronic illnesses. It will ensure patients have a voice."


Joining Furman and Romelfanger at the bill signing ceremony will be Joe Rotella, M.D., CMO of American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Care, Mary Ellen Green with Hosparus and Bonnie Lazor, M.D., with Vintage Care, all of Louisville.