Code of the District of Columbia

§ 7–1231.06. Durable power of attorney for health care; declaration of advance instructions for mental health treatment.

(a) All consumers may execute a durable power of attorney for health care in accordance with Chapter 22 of Title 21. The durable power of attorney for health care may include a statement of the consumer’s mental health treatment preferences, which shall be honored by his or her attorney-in-fact in accordance with § 21-2206(c)(1), or by any substitute health care decision-maker in accordance with § 21-2210(b). The consumer’s treatment preferences shall be followed by the Department or other provider, except for good cause as documented in the consumer’s clinical records, and shall never be overridden for the convenience of the Department or other provider.

(b) For purposes of informing a substitute health care decision-maker about his or her mental health treatment preferences pursuant to § 21-2210(b), a consumer may execute a declaration of advance instructions regarding his or her informed choice to accept or forego particular mental health services and mental health supports. A substitute health care decision-maker shall act in accordance with the consumer’s treatment preferences as expressed in the consumer’s declaration of advance instructions. The consumer’s treatment preferences shall be followed by the Department or other provider, except for good cause as documented in the consumer’s clinical records, and shall never be overridden for the convenience of the Department or other provider.

(c) The existence of a consumer’s durable power of attorney for health care or declaration of advance instructions for mental health treatment shall not affect his or her right to make decisions about the receipt of particular mental health services and mental health supports when he or she is capable of making such decisions.

(d)(1) The consumer shall provide for delivery of his or her durable power of attorney for health care or declaration of advance instructions for mental health treatment to his or her providers, attorney-in-fact, family members, and personal representative.

(2) If the consumer is comatose, incompetent, or otherwise incapacitated, any other person may deliver the durable power of attorney for health care or declaration of advance instructions for mental health treatment to the consumer’s physician or to any health care provider serving the consumer.

(3) Any provider who is notified of the consumer’s durable power of attorney for health care or declaration of advance instructions for mental health treatment shall promptly make the durable power of attorney or declaration a part of the consumer’s clinical records.

(4) Any provider who has been notified of the existence of a consumer’s durable power of attorney for health care or declaration of advance instructions for mental health treatment shall make reasonable efforts to obtain the durable power of attorney or declaration for the purpose of assisting an attorney-in-fact or substituted decision-maker in making decisions about the particular mental health services and mental health supports to be provided to the consumer pursuant to Chapter 22 of Title 21.


(Dec. 18, 2001, D.C. Law 14-56, § 206, 48 DCR 7674.)

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90 day) addition of section, see § 206 of Mental Health Service Delivery Reform Congressional Review Emergency Act of 2001 (D.C. Act 14-144, October 23, 2001, 48 DCR 9947).