We’re excited to announce that Massachusetts is building a state electronic registry to allow clinicians timely and trusted access to the medical forms that document patients' preferences for care near the end of life. The registry will include forms called physician orders for life-sustaining treatment, or POLST. Contributions from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts and the Coalition helped the Massachusetts Executive Office of Health and Human Services secure matching funding for the registry from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to make this happen.
POLST programs across the country offer people with serious, life-limiting illnesses a unique and powerful way to express their wishes for care near the end of life. But these vitally important documents are too often poorly filled out, difficult to locate, or ignored in the moment due to concerns over validity. Massachusetts will join a handful of other states, including California, New York, and Oregon, that have introduced such registries to help ensure that residents' preferences are honored at the end of life.
As part of the project, the state will update its POLST form to align with national standards and conduct extensive outreach and education about the new form and how to use the online registry. Stakeholder engagement and planning is underway in partnership with the Coalition's MOLST-to-POLST Advisory Group, which includes representatives from over ten health care and community organizations. A series of listening sessions and feedback opportunities will be announced shortly -- stay tuned!