*Note: § 54.1-2986.2(B)(2) makes clear that objections to withholding or withdrawal of life-prolonging treatments can never be overridden.
Virginia Advance Directives
When revisions were made to the HCDA in 2009/2010, Virginia added a provision that addresses treating someone over their objection (Va. Code § 54.1-2986.2). This “protest provision” has been nicknamed the “Ulysses Clause” in the literature.
In short, the provision allows a health care consumer to relinquish, during a time when they are unable to make informed decisions, their right to refuse treatment.* A one-page amendment version demonstrates the provision.
An important feature to point out to health care providers is that this provision, if selected by a person, requires attestation in writing by a physician or licensed clinical psychologist. The physician or psychologist must check that the person understands the meaning of the provision, given its importance and complexity.
The physician or psychologist must attest that:
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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