DOJ: News Release

Choices Bank Merges with Statewide Registry for Health Care Directives

HELENA – Attorney General Mike McGrath and St. Patrick Hospital president Jeff Fee today announced that the Missoula-based Choices Bank has merged with the state’s online advance health care directive service to create a single registry for Montana citizens.

“We realize that people have given serious thought to completing their advance directives and to storing them where they are secure and easy to access,” Fee said. “It has been our privilege to serve the citizens of Montana through the Choices Bank.”

The Choices Bank was originally created in 1996 by the Life’s End Institute and sponsored by St. Patrick Hospital and Health Sciences Center. According to McGrath, over 4,600 advance directives have been transferred from the Choices Bank to the Montana End-of-Life Registry.

“Through the Choices Bank, the Institute and St. Pat’s definitely led the way in educating people about the need to make their wishes for their end-of-life care known,” McGrath said. “It’s an important service and the Department of Justice is committed to making sure those directives are secure and, when the need arises, immediately available to doctors and family members.”

Other than the look of the web pages, people who used the Choices Bank will see few changes with the state registry.

  • Both are free. There is no fee for depositing, viewing or printing an advance directive, or for depositing updated versions of it with the registry.
  • They can use the same name and access code that are on their existing Choices Bank wallet cards.
  • Like the Choices Bank, the Registry allows people to designate one of two privacy levels.

As part of the transfer, McGrath said that the state registry has removed certain personal identifying information – Social Security numbers and dates of birth – from the copy of the advance directives people and their health care providers see online. However, this information can still be used to access a directive.

With the support of Choices Bank and St. Patrick Hospital, in 2005 Missoula legislators proposed a bill authorizing the Attorney General’s office to create and maintain a state-run registry. The new Montana End-of-Life Registry, which became available in March 2006, now stores over 5,800 advance directives.

The End-of-Life Registry is the product of the collaboration between the Department of Justice, the Montana Palliative Care Coalition, the Department of Administration Information Technology Services Division and Montana Interactive, LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of eGovernment provider NIC (Nasdaq: EGOV).

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