History of the Oregon POLST Registry

The Registry project began under the leadership of Terri Schmidt, M.D. in January 2008 in response to a need expressed by Emergency Medical Services (EMS) to access POLST orders when they arrived on the scene of a medical emergency, and could not immediately locate the POLST form.  The development of the test and pilot systems were funded by a grant from the Greenwall Foundation along with additional private philanthropy.  The project is a collaboration of the Oregon POLST Task Force, the OHSU Center for Ethics in Health Care and the OHSU Department of Emergency Medicine.

Phase one of the project consisted of designing the electronic Registry and was completed in December 2008.  In January 2009, the second phase began, with system training and testing of the Registry by the project team, the OHSU Emergency Communications Center and EMS professionals in Clackamas County. May 2009 marked the roll out of the third phase or “pilot” of the Oregon POLST Registry with initiation in Clackamas County on May 26, 2009.

Legislation was introduced in Senate Bill 329 to partner the Registry with the Department of Human Services (DHS) and the Oregon Health Authority (OHA).  The partnership addressed HIPAA requirements and secured support for statewide expansion.  Legislation passed on July 1, 2009 and the Registry office began accepting forms from across Oregon (Oregon Administrative Rules 333-270). On December 3, 2009 the Registry was implemented statewide. Senate Bill 329 also established a POLST Registry Advisory Committee (PRAC) which was sunsetted July 2017. For information please contact the OHA EMS office. 

The Oregon POLST Registry was founded in 2009 as a statewide Registry when House Bill 2009 passed on July 1, 2009. This important piece of legislation led to the statewide implementation of the Registry on December 3, 2009.

The Oregon POLST Registry is housed at OHSU and operated by the Department of Emergency Medicine under contract with the Oregon Health Authority.

The Oregon POLST Program and Oregon POLST Coalition administer the content of the Oregon POLST form; and therefore are vital partners for the Oregon POLST Registry.

The OHSU Center for Ethics in Health Care procured the original funding needed to explore the possibility of creating the Registry as well as run the initial pilot of the Oregon POLST Registry in Clackamas county. The Center also provides the support for POLST outreach and education in Oregon.