An Advance Health Care Directive is a formal document, signed by you in advance of a severe illness or injury, which will guide your physician(s) when providing treatment. Not withstanding this document, you still have the right to make medical and other health care decisions for yourself so long as you can give informed consent regarding the particular decision. As long as you can speak or yourself, Plan Providers will honor your wishes. But, if you become so incapacitated that you cannot make an informed decision, this directive will guide your health care treatment based on the directions you set out in the Advance Health Care Directive.
There are two (2) basic types of Advance Health Care Directives in California that provide guidance to your physicians if there is a disagreement results about your wishes. They are:
- Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care Decisions (DPAHCD), and
- Natural Death Act Declaration.
The preferred document is the DPAHCD. A VHP Member Services Representative can help you obtain one.
The policies involving your right to make medical treatment decisions may vary from facility to facility.
For example, operating rooms typically suspend Advance Health Care Directives and provide all appropriate resuscitative and life-prolonging treatment during surgery and recovery.
It is your responsibility to inquire about and comply with the policies of your hospital or other health care facility about Advance Health Care Directives. Give copies of your completed Advance Health Care Directive to your physician, your representative (if designated), and your family. Be sure to keep a copy for yourself and take one with you when you are hospitalized.
You are not required to have an Advance Health Care Directive. If you do not have an Advance Health Care Directive, you can and will still be treated.
If you have any questions regarding your health care choices or need more information, please contact your Primary Care Physician or a Member Services Representative at 1.888.421.8444 (toll-free).