Washington Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care Form
A Washington durable power of attorney for health care is a document created by a principal to allow an agent to make medical choices on their behalf. It becomes effective immediately after signing. However, the agent can only make health-related decisions for the principal if they cannot speak for themselves. Principals who want to change this medical power of attorney (or assign a new agent or alternate agent) must create a new document. They can terminate the contract altogether by completing a revocation form. If the agent is the principal’s spouse, they no longer have power if both parties divorce.
This form gives the agent permission to do the following for the principal:
- Determine medical treatment and consent to care;
- Hire and fire members of their health care team;
- Allow admission to a facility that is not for mental health treatment (i.e., residential, medical, nursing, etc.);
- Be the personal representative and allow the release of the principal’s Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) information;
- Visit the principal at the hospital (or location at which they reside);
- Maintain financial records for medical care and discuss them with the principal; and/or
- Become elected as the principal’s guardian by a court of law.
The agent cannot place the principal in a mental health facility. In addition, they cannot consent to electroconvulsive therapy, psychosurgery, or other medical care that restrains the principal (i.e., physical restraint and confinement). This document does not allow the agent to agree to a pre-dispute binding arbitration. The agent cannot sign this agreement because it limits the principal’s right to sue a health care team member (or another individual), appoint a jury, and/or join a class action.
Laws: RCW 70.122
Signing requirements (RCW 70.122.030): Must be signed by two (2) witnesses OR a Notary Public.