Sen. Nan Orrock and Georgia Health Decisions Highlight National Health Care Decisions Day

ATLANTA (April 15, 2013) – Sen. Nan Orrock (D-Atlanta) joins with Dr. Richard Cohen, Georgia Health Decisions (GHD) Board Chairman, to highlight National Health Care Decisions Day (NHDD) on April 16, 2013.  Tomorrow marks the sixth anniversary of NHDD to emphasize the need for Georgians to complete advance directives to ensure that their health care decisions are honored.

An advance directive is a legal document, also known as a living will, signed by a cognizant person in order to provide guidance for medical and health care decisions in the event that the person becomes incompetent to make such decisions.

According to a 2006 Pew Research Center study, only 29 percent of Americans have a living will despite 90 percent having knowledge about it.  The U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, in a 2003 article, “Advance Care Planning: Preferences for Care at the End of Life,” found that less than 50 percent of the severely or terminally ill patients studied had an advance directive in their medical record and that 65-76 percent of physicians whose patients had an advance directive were not aware that it existed.

National Health Care Decisions Day helps to increase awareness about advance directives that bridge the communication gap between patients and their doctors to ensure their wishes are fulfilled in the event of a medical crisis.

“As a result of National Healthcare Decisions Day, every year more people are taking control of their health care decisions and making their medical wishes known through an advance directive,” said Sen. Orrock.  “By establishing their own advance directive, their families and doctors won’t have to make difficult healthcare decisions in the absence of guidance from them.  An advance directive insures that health care providers can better honor patients’ wishes.”

“Advance care planning,” Dr. Cohen explains, “is about expressing your wishes, having your wishes honored and supporting your loved ones as they face difficult decisions.”

In the recently completed legislative session, Sen. Orrock introduced and passed SB 150 to clarify Georgia’s statute on advance directives.  She and Rep. Mary Margaret Oliver jointly introduced resolutions to urge more Georgians to complete their advance directives. To learn more about an advance directive and resources on securing and completing  the necessary forms, please visit online at:

For Immediate Release:
April 15, 2013

For Information Contact:
Jennifer Yarber, Interim Director
Kate Greer, Broadcast Specialist