Virginia Advance Directives
Several relevant state agencies and groups explicitly support the use of and increased implementation of ADs.
State law: Health Care Decisions Act(Va. Code §§ 54.1-2981 et seq.)
Specific sections of Virginia law are reviewed in other subsections of the ADs and Health Care Providers section. Some general points to note here:
National standards: The Joint Commission (formerly the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations)
Standard RI.01.05.01 is the relevant Joint Commission standard. The standards make clear that simply providing information on ADs is insufficient—the subject must be discussed so that patients understand their options for decision making. Additional points to note:
The underlined requirements highlight the areas where many health care provider agencies fall short.
The use of ADs is directed by several laws and standards at the national and state levels.
Federal law: Patient Self-Determination Act (42 CFR § 489.102)
This act, enacted in 1991, is the law that may be most recognized by providers. The law was originally aimed at certain providers, but at least one aspect of the law—asking whether someone has an AD—has become widespread practice throughout the health care system.
Still, several requirements of the law are frequently overlooked. Providers must:
This website is not intended to provide legal advice. It is merely a guide, and reflects one view of Advance Directives in Virginia. It can be beneficial to consult with an attorney regarding your Advance Directive. However, the intention of Virginia’s law on Advance Directives is to enable and encourage all capable adults to fill out an Advance Directive on their own.
This website is designed and administered by Mental Health America of Virginia (MHAV) and is funded through a grant by the Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services.
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