Underscoring the importance of discussing your wishes for end-of-life care and other advanced medical directives with your attorney and those closest to you, Washington State has discontinued its online living will registry due to budget cuts.
Washington's living will registry began in 2007. In addition to living wills, documents regarding durable powers of attorney for health and life-sustaining treatment orders were stored on the database, which was a tool healthcare providers used to easily ascertain the medical treatment preferences of patients who could not communicate.
According to the Washington State Department of Health, 2,462 individuals and 186 healthcare organizations had posted files to the registry as of the end of June, when it stopped accepting new users. Those who already have files in the system can continue to access and update their documents, which will be made available to healthcare providers via a national living will registry.
A spokesman for the state said Washington will save $104,000 in its current budget by eliminating the registry, The Associated Press reports.
In 2002, North Carolina was the first state to establish an online living will registry, followed by Montana, Arizona, Vermont and Washington, according to the Democratic Leadership Council.