Posted on: December 3, 2015
Written by: Coalition for Compassionate Care of California
Proposed revisions to the California POLST form were approved by the Emergency Medical Services Authority (EMSA) Commission at their December meeting, releasing the Coalition for Compassionate Care of California (CCCC) to move forward with full implementation of the provisions of Assembly Bill 637.
AB 637 (Wolk) authorizes nurse practitioners and physician assistants – under the supervision of a physician and within their scope of practice – to sign POLST forms and make them actionable medical orders. The bill goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2016.
As the home of POLST in California, CCCC follows a carefully structured process for making revisions to the form. The POLST Documentation Committee and POLST Task Force submitted the proposed 2016 POLST form to the EMSA Commission, and the changes were approved to go into effect along with the effective date of the new law.
Information and resources associated with the 2016 POLST form can be found online at http://capolst.org/2016polst. The website includes:
- Links to the 2016 POLST form (translations into 11 languages and Braille coming soon)
- A video of the webinar on AB 637 and POLST
- Contact information for local POLST coalitions, who are providing community-based outreach and education on the POLST form changes
- Sample policies and procedures for hospitals and skilled nursing facilities
- A handout of What You Need to Know About AB 637 and POLST (PDF)
Important reminders about the new form:
- AB 637 does not go into effect until Jan. 1, 2016. POLST forms signed by nurse practitioners or physician assistants prior to Jan. 1, 2016, will not be valid.
- Previous versions of POLST are still valid if signed by a physician.
- Best practice is for NPs and PAs to only use the revised POLST form (with an effective date of 01/1/2016) because previous versions do not contain the necessary signature lines or clarifying language and instructions.
- The revised form will be available for purchase in bulk quantities from Med-Pass in late December.