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Patient Self-Determination Act, 42 U.S. Code § 1395cc(f) & 42 U.S. Code § 1396a(w)

The federal Patient Self-Determination Act, passed in 1990 and effective on December 1, 1991, requires most health care providers to provide information regarding health care advance directives. The purpose of the legislation was to enhance patient choice. It applies to Medicare providers through 42 U.S. Code § 1395cc(f) and Medicaid providers through 42 U.S. Code § 1396a(w). Regulations implementing the Act are at 42 CFR Subpart I. The text from the Medicare statute is as follows:

(f)Maintenance of written policies and procedures

(1)For purposes of subsection (a)(1)(Q) and sections 1395i–3(c)(2)(E),[5] 1395l(s), 1395w–25(i), 1395mm(c)(8), and 1395bbb(a)(6) of this title, the requirement of this subsection is that a provider of services, Medicare+Choice organization, or prepaid or eligible organization (as the case may be) maintain written policies and procedures with respect to all adult individuals receiving medical care by or through the provider or organization—

(A) to provide written information to each such individual concerning—

(i) an individual’s rights under State law (whether statutory or as recognized by the courts of the State) to make decisions concerning such medical care, including the right to accept or refuse medical or surgical treatment and the right to formulate advance directives (as defined in paragraph (3)), and
(ii) the written policies of the provider or organization respecting the implementation of such rights;

(B) to document in a prominent part of the individual’s current medical record whether or not the individual has executed an advance directive;
(C) not to condition the provision of care or otherwise discriminate against an individual based on whether or not the individual has executed an advance directive;
(D) to ensure compliance with requirements of State law (whether statutory or as recognized by the courts of the State) respecting advance directives at facilities of the provider or organization; and
(E) to provide (individually or with others) for education for staff and the community on issues concerning advance directives.
Subparagraph (C) shall not be construed as requiring the provision of care which conflicts with an advance directive.

(2)The written information described in paragraph (1)(A) shall be provided to an adult individual—

(A) in the case of a hospital, at the time of the individual’s admission as an inpatient,
(B) in the case of a skilled nursing facility, at the time of the individual’s admission as a resident,
(C) in the case of a home health agency, in advance of the individual coming under the care of the agency,
(D) in the case of a hospice program, at the time of initial receipt of hospice care by the individual from the program, and
(E) in the case of an eligible organization (as defined in section 1395mm(b) of this title) or an organization provided payments under section 1395l(a)(1)(A) of this title or a Medicare+ÐChoice organization, at the time of enrollment of the individual with the organization.

(3) In this subsection, the term “advance directive” means a written instruction, such as a living will or durable power of attorney for health care, recognized under State law (whether statutory or as recognized by the courts of the State) and relating to the provision of such care when the individual is incapacitated.

(4) For construction relating to this subsection, see section 14406 of this title (relating to clarification respecting assisted suicide, euthanasia, and mercy killing).

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