On June 1, 2010, the Family Health Care Decisions Act (FHCDA) went into effect in New York State. The FHCDA establishes the authority of a patient’s family member or close friend to make medical treatment decisions for the patient in the event the patient lacks capacity to make such decisions personally, and did not previously sign health care proxies or appoint a health care agent.
Please note the surrogate decision-making provisions of the FHCDA do no apply in psychiatric units of general hospitals. Pursuant to Article 29-B of the Public Health Law, surrogates are authorized to make only DNR decisions for patients who lack capacity in psychiatric units licensed under the Mental Hygiene Law.
For more information on the FHCDA:
Deciding About Health Care – A Guide for Patients and Families (NYS DOH)
This guide is for New York State patients and for those who will make health care decisions for patients. It contains information about surrogate decision-making in hospitals and nursing homes. It also covers DNR orders in a health care facility, or in the community.
Because this guide is about health care decision-making, the word “patient” is used to refer to anyone receiving medical care. This includes a nursing home resident. This guide does not include the special rules for health care decisions made by legal guardians of persons with developmental disabilities.