To enact a Federal Law,
similar to the ones we've enacted in California and
Illinois, that will safeguard the people we love
even if we're not always physically there to protect
them. The legislation, nicknamed the Next of Kin Bill,
will require hospitals to make every reasonable effort
(via simple steps outlined in the bill) to notify the
next of kin of hospital patients who are unconscious or
cannot give informed consent, within twenty-four hours
of their admission.
our legislators heard our story and that of so many other
families, they agreed that we had to take action.
So we got together with Legislators in California and
Illinois to create The Next of Kin Law.
With the help of health organizations, advocacy
groups and celebrities, the Next of Kin Law was enacted in
both states in 2000/01.
The law simply states that a hospital must make
reasonable efforts to contact the next of kin of patients
who come into a hospital unconscious or physically unable to
give informed consent, within 24 hours of admission.
(read more about the state next of kin laws).
After my mother's
death, we spoke the head of a local risk manager's
association, who told us that the only reason
hospitals notify families at all, is because it's the
right thing to do. From the people we've spoken to, this
seems to be the consensus. The problem is, staff members
at busy, overburdened hospitals can forget to do the
protects the rights of hospital patients and their
families, while reducing the hospital's own liability.
By providing a surrogate decision maker to make
informed choices, hospitals will not have to guess what
a patient's wishes might be.
When a family member has been allowed to make a
treatment choice, the family is much less likely to sue,
in the case of a negative medical outcome, than if they
had not been able to make the informed decision for
their loved one’s care.
The good news is that
to date, 7 states have a next of kin statute on their
include California, Illinois,
Minnesota, Texas, Utah. Ohio and Hawaii.
The bad news is that 44 states are still
That's why we've
decided to take the
Next of Kin Bill federal.
We'll have news on that front in the coming months.
hospitals nationwide began to ask us the best ways to
perform notifications and to comply with the new
California and Illinois laws, we realized that we needed
to create an easy-to-use system, to provide hospitals
with the background and materials they need to
successfully deal with the challenges surrounding
The Next of Kin Bill
is also HIPAA friendly.
Hospitals and physicians who call a patient’s
next of kin, are able to do so, in full accord with
patient privacy standards set by HIPAA.
Click here to read what HIPAA says about
next of kin notification.
You’ll also see how this bill will reduce
hospital liability, from a risk manager’s perspective.