Michigan hospitals may be asked to be more 'transparent' about their 'futility' policies

Mar 16, 2013

There’s a bill making its way through the state legislature that would require Michigan hospitals to reveal when they will withhold treatment from severely ill patients.

Many hospitals have ‘futility’ policies.   The policies outline when the hospitals will withhold treatment from a patient on the grounds that further care would be futile and would simply waste hospital resources.

The policies are mainly for internal use and not widely disclosed.

A bill in the state senate would require hospitals to inform patients of their ‘futility’ policies.  The State Senate Health Policy committee approved SB 165 this week.  

Jesi Smith’s daughter Faith has repeatedly been denied treatment because of a severe medical condition.   Jesi Smith says she’s not asking hospitals to drop their ‘futility’ policies, just be upfront about them.

“All we’re asking is for them to be transparent,” says Smith.

The Michigan Health and Hospital Association has not taken a formal position on the ‘futility’ bill.  The group says it supports voluntary communication between doctors and patients.