1990:  Oregon POLST Task Force Founded on Strong Guiding Principles

In 1990, Oregon leaders in clinical ethics, emergency medical services and long-term care recognized that preferences for life-sustaining treatments of patients with advanced chronic progressive illness were frequently not found or not transferable and thus not honored. Under the leadership of Dr. Patrick Dunn, a Task Force was convened by the Center for Ethics in Health Care at Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) with representatives of stakeholder health care organizations to develop a new method to translate patient preferences into actionable medical orders that follow patients across settings of care. 

The newly formed volunteer Task Force was founded on strong guiding principles of always working for the benefit of patients, using an open consensus process inviting interested parties to the table, using a continuous quality improvement process that welcomes critical feedback with the goal of seeking truth, and avoiding and managing conflicts of interest. 

Dr. Susan Tolle, Director of the Center for Ethics in Health Care at OHSU, has led funding efforts for the Oregon POLST Task Force.  Support has come from private donations and grants. Funding from health care industry sources was specifically excluded to avoid any perceived, potential or actual conflicts of interest.