J.C. Blair Memorial Hospital, along with other national, state and community organizations, are leading a massive effort to highlight the importance of advance healthcare decision-making—an effort that has culminated in the formal designation of April 16 as National Healthcare Decisions Day (NHDD). As a participating organization, J.C. Blair is providing information and tools for the public to talk about their wishes with family, friends and healthcare providers, and execute written advance directives (healthcare power of attorney and living will) in accordance with Pennsylvania state laws. These resources are available at and

Specifically, on Thursday, April 18, from 7:30 to 9:00 a.m., J.C. Blair’s Director of Palliative Care Dr. Margaret Hallahan is hosting a continental breakfast and panel discussion with Attorney Ray Ghaner and Pastor Gene Tucker to provide different perspectives on the importance of advance healthcare planning and decision making at the J.C. Blair Education Center at 860 Bryan Street on the hospital campus. Free information about advance care planning and advance directive forms will be provided. RSVPs are appreciated by calling the hospital’s community relations office at (814) 643-8548.

In addition, Dr. Hallahan and J.C. Blair Case Manager Diane Yutzy will be sharing advance healthcare planning information and advance directive forms at the Senior Expo hosted by State Representative Rich Irvin on Wednesday, April 24, from 10 am to 2 pm at the Smithfield Fire Hall.

“As a result of National Healthcare Decisions Day, we are hoping many more people in our community will have thoughtful conversations about their healthcare decisions and complete reliable advance directives to make their wishes known,” said Dr. Hallahan. “Fewer families and healthcare providers will have to struggle with making difficult healthcare decisions in the absence of guidance from the patient, and healthcare providers and facilities will be better equipped to address advance healthcare planning issues before a crisis and be better able to honor patient wishes when the time comes to do so.”

For more information about National Healthcare Decision Day, please visit