New law allows Oklahomans to execute health care power of attorney

Maggie K. Martin

The Oklahoma Legislature restored the durable power of attorney for health care with the passage of Senate Bill 1596, which will once again provide Oklahomans with the ability to execute a power of attorney for health care (HCPOA) . SB 1596 was signed by Governor Kevin Stitt on April 29, taking effect the same day, creating Oklahoma’s new health worker law and reinstating the HCPOA, supplementing Oklahoma’s other existing decision-making statutes. in health care.

Back on November 1, 2021, Oklahoma’s new Uniform Powers of Attorney Act went into effect, which inadvertently repealed Oklahoma’s statutory provisions that permitted the execution of an enduring power of attorney for the purpose of taking health care decisions. However, this legislative session, Senator Howard and Rep. Stinson worked to restore those provisions through the creation of Oklahoma’s new health care worker law. The law gives Oklahomans the ability to execute an HCPOA and appoint an agent to make health care decisions on behalf of the individual.

For those familiar with the previous enduring powers of attorney provisions, the new law, in essence, restores what was removed from the statutes last year. Here are the main elements of the law:

The HCPOA is activated when the person (i.e. the principal) no longer has capacity (the ability to understand and make informed health care decisions) or whenever the principal determines that it must be enabled, but only as specified in the HCPOA. The HCPOA remains in effect even if the grantor later becomes incompetent.

The agent may make health care decisions for the grantor, as long as those decisions comply with:

  • any written instructions from the instructing party;
  • the principal’s best interests; Where
  • the values ​​of the principal insofar as they are known to the agent.

Health care decisions that may be made under a DPOA include:

  • Selection and dismissal of health care providers and facilities;
  • Consent or refusal of any care, treatment, service or procedure to maintain, diagnose or otherwise affect a physical or mental condition; and
  • Sign a Do Not Resuscitate Consent in accordance with the provisions of the Oklahoma Do-Not-Resuscitate Act.

The law does not authorize the officer to make life-saving treatment decisions, such as withdrawal or withdrawal of nutrition and hydration.

The law establishes a new model form of power of attorney for health care, which must be signed by the principal and witnessed by two persons aged at least 18 years and not legatees, legatees or legal heirs of the principal.

The HCPOA no longer needs to be notarized to be considered valid.

Finally, the law includes a provision that any HCPOA signed between November 1, 2021 and April 29, 2022 will be considered a valid document, so long as the document substantially complies with the provisions of the law. If you executed an HCPOA during this time, you should contact an attorney to determine if the document substantially complies with the law and can be considered valid.

If you don’t have an HCPOA and want to execute one, you can also contact an attorney to help you prepare and execute. An HCPOA is a great way for you to designate who should make health care decisions for you when you are no longer able to make those decisions yourself.

By putting your wishes for your future health care in writing, via an HCPOA, you have taken steps to ensure that those wishes will be honored to the extent possible.

Maggie K. Martin is an attorney at Crowe & Dunlevy, crowdedunlevy.com, and a member of the Healthcare Practice Group.

Maggie K. Martin is an attorney at Crowe & Dunlevy, crowdedunlevy.com, and a member of the Healthcare Practice Group. This column should not be construed as legal advice or considered a substitute for it.

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