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December 7, 2011

Contact: Maribeth Brewster, (804) 864-7008

New registry helps fulfill health care and end-of-life wishes for Virginians

(Richmond, Va.) The Commonwealth of Virginia today launched its statewide Advance Health Care Directive Registry (AHCDR). An Advance Health Care Directive lets other people know the types of health care you do and do not want in the event you are unable to express your wishes on your own. The secure registry, available to all legal Virginia residents, stores documents that detail and protect health care wishes in the event a person is unable to speak for themselves. These documents include medical power of attorney, do-not-resuscitate orders and other health care wishes.

“This public-private partnership between the Virginia Department of Health, UNIVAL, Inc. and Microsoft Corporation provides an important service to all Virginians,” said Secretary of Health and Human Resources William Hazel, Jr., MD. “Virginia is unique among states that offer this kind of service in that there is no cost to taxpayers or registry users.”

Without advanced planning, health care decisions are often left to family members when a loved one becomes incapacitated and unable to speak for themselves. The AHCDR relieves loved ones of that burden and ensures that those loved ones, as well as health care providers, know a person’s wishes and who they want making medical decisions for them. Through the registry, residents can also make known their wishes regarding organ donation.

“The registry will help increase the likelihood that an individual’s health care wishes are known by family members or friends and health care providers,” said State Health Commissioner Karen Remley, MD, MBA, FAAP. “It makes that information readily accessible when needed in order to ensure that the individual’s expressed wishes are honored.”

Using the registry is easy and registration is simple. Residents enter basic information, create an account and select a personal identification number (PIN) and password. Each Virginian who signs up for the registry receives an identification card containing their personal registry information so health care providers can access their information if necessary. They may also share their PIN with friends, family and health care providers, allowing them access to their information.

The registry will be interoperable with the statewide Health Information Exchange (HIE). The HIE is a secure, confidential, electronic system where a patient’s records will be accessible to other health care providers throughout the nation if a patient chooses to participate. As the statewide HIE becomes operational, the AHCDR will be a “value-added” service provided by the HIE.

To sign up for the AHCDR, visit Legal Virginia residents without computer access can still be part of the registry by calling 800-224-0791 for help and more information.

Last Updated: 12-07-2011

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