On November 17, 2023, New York Governor Kathy Hochul legislation (A2190 / S5100) into law that allows for the remote witnessing of health care proxies using audio-video technology, effective immediately.
This legislation adds a new subdivision 2-a to Public Health Law § 2981:
As the justification for the law indicates, the COVID-19 global pandemic motivated the new alternate procedure for witnessing a healthcare proxy:
The COVID-19 global pandemic has revealed a number of areas where barriers to remote procedures should be removed. Witnessing of health care proxies is one area where the law currently requires certain actions to be performed in-person. While access to audiovisual video conferencing is becoming more prevalent and commonly used, the law should be updated to allow for such technology to be utilized in order to facilitate these important actions in a safe, socially-distanced manner.
This bill would amend the public health law to authorize remote witnessing of health care proxies. Such amendments will help to protect the public from the spread of COVID-19 by allowing for participating individuals to remain in their homes or offices when completing this actions and modernize the law so that it is aligned with current technology.
In her approval memorandum, Gov. Hochul explains that the new law will make creating healthcare proxies easier:
On February 7, 2024, New York's Gov. Hochul signed bill S8062 / A8521 into law (as chapter 33 of 2024), which makes a conforming change to New York's State Technology Law by removing "health care proxies" from the list of exceptions in § 307. This change means the State Technology Law will apply to health care proxies.