Dr. Mark E. Meaney Announces the Creation of a National Institute for Patient Rights

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To mark the 15th anniversary of the Patient Self-Determination Act, Dr. Mark E. Meaney announced the launch of a National Institute for Patient Rights. Dr. Meaney noted that the Institute will conduct community outreach to patients and their families in helping them protect and promote their rights 'at the bedside.'

To commemorate the 15th anniversary of the Patient Self-Determination Act, Dr. Mark E. Meaney announced the creation of a National Institute for Patient Rights. In marking the occasion, Dr. Meaney noted that December 1st, 1991 was the date the Patient Self-Determination Act went into force. The Act codified into federal law the basic rights of patient self-determination and informed consent.

Dr. Meaney stated that, "The Patient Self-Determination Act remains a touchstone of a larger social and medical movement to enhance patient rights at the bedside." He went on to add that the Act has helped patients and their families play a greater role in patient care decisions.

By encouraging patient use of advance directives, such as a living will and a durable power of attorney for health care, the Act extends patient self-determination into the period in which patients can no longer communicate for themselves.

"Today, in commemorating the 15th anniversary of the Patient Self-Determination Act, we dedicate the creation of a National Institute for Patient Rights to the protection and promotion of patient rights," Meaney declared.

Meaney went on to observe that, despite billions spent on medical technologies, patients daily experience an erosion of their rights at the bedside. Ironically, the enormous advances in medicine have contributed to the erosion.

With specialist and sub-specialists for every organ, 'component management' has led to episodic intervention and a fragmentation of care. The fragmentation of care, in turn, has led to problems of a "failure to communicate" and "miscommunication."

Meaney also noted that, despite its successes, the record on the implementation of the community education provisions of PSDA remains "abysmal." Hospital-based healthcare professionals have neither the time nor the money to conduct community outreach on patient rights among a public who will eventually need this information.

Consequently, family members or patient advocates are often left bewildered by questions about the benefits and burdens of medical technologies used on their loved ones especially at the end of life.

Meaney stated, "The lack of information about patient rights no doubt contributes to conflict between family members and healthcare providers. Conflict is costly."

The mission of the National Institute for Patient Rights will be to deliver multimedia educational programming. Through a web site, a blog, a newsletter, books, CDs and DVDs, NIPR will provide information to patients and their families in helping them learn how to protect and promote their rights at the bedside "without alienating their healthcare providers."

Meaney stated, "NIPR will launch a web site and blog in January to provide information that will directly empower patients and their families. There are sites and blogs that address topics in bioethics, but none that specifically address patient rights at the bedside. Our empowerpatients.com will fill a void."

Dr. Meaney has a doctorate in philosophy specializing in health care ethics. He brings a wealth of experience to NIPR having headed-up two centers of health care ethics, while vice president of programs and publications at a third. He has also spent many years in hospitals serving patients and their families at the bedside. He has taught ethics for medical, nursing, allied health, and healthcare administration students for many years at various universities. Meaney has published widely on topics in applied ethics in professional and popular media. He serves as a consultant in a variety of capacities to numerous hospitals, extended care facilities, and healthcare-related corporations.

For further information about the National Institute for Patient Rights, please contact Dr. Meaney at:

NIPR

Suite 301

6635 E 18th Ave.

Denver, CO

Tel: (303) 519-3296

FAX: (303) 321-0063

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DR. MARK E. MEANEY
National Institute for Patient Rights
303-519-3296
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