Virginia Advance Directives
The following are brief statements of the core responsibilities outlined under the HCDA.
Health care consumer’s responsibility
It is the responsibility of the consumer, while well, to give a copy of (or instructions for obtaining) the AD to the consumer’s provider. Va. Code § 54.1-2983
Adding the AD to a consumer’s record
Once a physician knows that the AD exists, it is the physician’s responsibility to make a copy of the AD a part of the consumer’s medical record. Va. Code § 54.1-2983
Provider liability immunity
No facility, physician, or other person acting under direction of a physician will be liable for carrying out an AD that the person believes to be legitimate. Va. Code §§ 54.1-2985, 2988
Treatment over consumer protest
If a consumer has completed the relevant provision of the AD, a provider may act over the consumer’s objection. Va. Code § 54.1-2986.2
Strength of AD
Providers must follow an AD as closely as possible within the boundaries of the law and acceptable medical practice. Va. Code § 54.1-2983.3
Transfer of health care consumer
A physician who refuses to follow all or part of an AD (or an agent’s directions) must make a reasonable effort to transfer the consumer to another physician. Va. Code §§ 54.1-2987, 2990
Survival of AD
If part of an AD cannot be followed because it conflicts with other authority (e.g., temporary detention order), the rest of the document remains valid and should be followed as closely as circumstances and the law allow. Va. Code § 54.1-2983.3
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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