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End of Life Care News

Christie conditionally vetoes bills concerning pet euthanization and human life-sustaining treatment

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christie030411_optGov. Chris Christie on Thursday conditionally vetoed bills concerning pet euthanization and the use of Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment forms in New Jersey. He also signed legislation codifying income eligibility levels for the AIDS Drug Distribution Program (ADDP).

Christie conditionally vetoed bill (S-2923), citing the need to maintain a seven day hold period before dogs and cats received by animal shelters can be offered for adoption, transferred, or euthanized in New Jersey. Under existing law, any animal captured by an animal control officer must be held for seven days before it can be offered for adoption, transferred to a more suitable shelter, or euthanized.

The legislation would change this standard, and permit animals to be transferred or euthanized before seven days if the shelter determines that the age, health, or behavior of the animal warrants such action. Christie said that unfortunately, the exception would create the potential that older or mildly injured animals could be euthanized immediately, and before a diligent search by an owner could locate a lost pet.

Christie also conditionally vetoed bill (S-2197), legislation providing for the use of Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment (POLST) forms in New Jersey. While noting the prospective benefits in guiding end of life patient care for New Jerseyans by utilizing POLST forms, Christie cited concerns with the provisions of the bill that would effectively allow a patient's wishes to be overridden by the patient's physician or healthcare representative without the patient's prior consent, and that would mandate an alternative dispute resolution as a prerequisite to a patient's or his or her representative's right to go to court to protect a patient's wishes. Christie recommended changes to further protect a patient's health care wishes.

Christie signed bill (S-22140, a supplement to the 2010-11 Appropriation Act, that codifies income eligibility levels to 500 percent of the federal poverty level for the AIDS Drug Distribution Program, retroactive to July 1, 2010.

In signing this bill, Christie makes permanent actions taken by the state Department of Health and Senior Services to provide a safety net for New Jerseyans living with HIV/AIDS during Fiscal Year 2011-12. The 2011-12 state budget continues to protect access to AIDS medication for AIDS patients through the ADDP at this level.

TOM HESTER SR., NEWJERSEYNEWSROOM.COM

 

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