Advance Directive

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You have the right to have an advance directive. An advance directive is a written instruction about your health care that is recognized under California law. It usually states how you would like health care provided, or says what decisions you would like to be made, if or when you are unable to speak for yourself. You may sometimes hear an advance directive described as a living will or durable power of attorney.

California law defines an advance directive as either an oral or written individual health care instruction or a power of attorney (a written document giving someone permission to make decisions for you). All MHPs are required to have advance directive policies in place. Your MHP is required to provide any adult who is Medi-Cal eligible with written information on the MHP’s advance directive policies and a description of applicable state law, if the adult asks for the information. If you would like to request the information, you should call your MHP’s toll-free phone number listed in the front part of this booklet for more information. An advance directive is designed to allow people to have control over their own treatment, especially when they are unable to provide instructions about their own care. It is a legal document that allows people to say, in advance, what their wishes would be, if they become unable to make health care decisions. This may include such things as the right to accept or refuse medical treatment, surgery, or to make other health care choices. In California, an advance directive consists of two parts:

  1. Your appointment of an agent (a person) making decisions about your health care, and
  2. Your individual health care instructions.

If you have a complaint about advance directive requirements, you may contact the California Department of Public Health, Licensing and Certification Division, by calling (800) 236-9747, or by mail at P.O. Box 997377, MS 3000, Sacramento, California 95899-7377.