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On World AIDS Day, New Mexico activists say more money is needed for prevention; ND farmers still navigate corporate land-ownership policy maze; Unpaid caregivers in ME receive limited financial grants.

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Secretary of State Antony Blinken urges Israel to protect civilians amid Gaza truce talks, New York Rep. George Santos defends himself as his expected expulsion looms and CDC director warns about respiratory illness as flu season begins.

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Congress has iced the Farm Bill, but farmer advocates argue some portions are urgent, the Hoosier State is reaping big rewards from wind and solar, and opponents react to a road through Alaska's Brooks Range, long a dream destination for hunters and anglers.

OR Law Allows Patient Advocates for People with Disabilities in Hospitals

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Friday, July 10, 2020   

SALEM, Ore. -- Oregon Gov. Kate Brown signed a bill into law this week ensuring that a support person can join Oregonians with disabilities in medical facilities to help with their health decisions.

Jennifer Parrish Taylor, Northwest regional policy manager for the organization Compassion & Choices said this bill was needed because patients' advocates were being told they couldn't come into hospital emergency rooms due to COVID-19.

"Folks have a right to have a list of approved support people to come with them to an emergency room when they're seeking services," Parrish Taylor explained. "And also, if they have an advanced directive or POLST, that that has to be honored by the health-care providers."

POLSTs are Portable Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment. These legal documents are especially important for people with chronic and terminal illnesses for guiding doctors on their end-of-life decisions.

According to Parrish Taylor, Compassion & Choices and the Death with Dignity National Center submitted testimony on the original language of the bill.

"Our concern was that this could have unintended consequences for folks who didn't have disabilities, who were also facing emergency situations where they too had advanced directives and POLSTs, and had proxies -- and just ensuring that, in those situations as well, those are honored," she noted.

She said state lawmakers responded, and amended the bill.

Parrish Taylor added that this is an important step for the Oregon Legislature to take during the COVID-19 outbreak.

"I understand that we're in a pandemic," she said. "But civil rights aren't suspended during a pandemic."




Disclosure: Compassion & Choices contributes to our fund for reporting on Civic Engagement, Health Issues, Senior Issues, Social Justice. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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