(a) A principal is presumed to be capable of making health care decisions for himself or herself unless she/he is determined to be incapacitated. Incapacity may not be inferred from the person’s voluntary or involuntary hospitalization for mental illness or from his or her mental retardation.
(b) If a principal’s capacity to make health care decisions for himself or herself is in question, the attending physician shall evaluate the principal’s capacity and, if the physician concludes that the principal lacks capacity, enter that evaluation in the principal’s medical record. If the attending physician has a question as to whether the principal lacks capacity, another physician also shall evaluate the principal’s capacity, and if the second physician agrees that the principal lacks the capacity to make health care decisions, the health care facility shall enter both physicians’ evaluations in the principal’s medical record. If the principal has appointed a health care representative, the facility shall notify such health care representative in writing that his or her authority under the instrument has commenced.
(c) The representative’s authority shall commence upon a determination under subsection (b) that the principal lacks capacity, and such authority shall remain in effect until a determination that the principal has regained capacity. Upon commencement of the representative’s authority, a representative who is not the principal’s spouse shall notify the principal’s spouse and adult children of the principal’s appointment of the representative. In the event the attending physician determines that the principal has regained capacity, the authority of the representative shall cease, but shall recommence if the principal subsequently loses capacity as determined pursuant to this section.
(d) A determination made pursuant to this section that the principal lacks capacity to make health care decisions shall not be construed as a finding that the principal lacks capacity for any other purpose.
(e) In the event the representative is required to consent to withholding or withdrawing life-prolonging procedures, the provisions of part II shall apply.History: 2008, PL 30-33.