Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care Patient Advocate Designation
A patient advocate is an individual designated to exercise powers concerning another persons’s care, custody, and medical or mental health treatment, or authorized to make an anatomical gift on behalf of that person. MCL 700.1106(k).
Michigan has two kinds of Advance Directives. One is the Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare, otherwise known as a Patient Advocate Designation (DPOA-HC), which can be used in both inpatient and ambulatory care settings. The other is a Do-Not-Resuscitate (DNR) Declaration, which is for non-hospital settings. If either of these legal documents is missing certain elements, they may not be valid; however, the information in them could be used to show a patient’s intent or wishes regarding treatment choices.
A “living will” is not recognized as a legally binding Advance Directive in Michigan. However, a living will is sometimes combined with a valid Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care to help the Patient Advocate named in the DPOA-HC to understand the patient’s treatment choices.
The agent’s authority to exercise the power to make care, custody, and medical decisions is triggered when the patient “is unable to participate in medical treatment decisions.” The agent’s authority to exercise the power to make mental health treatment decisions for the patient only arises if a physician and a mental health practitioner both examine the patient and certify in writing that the patient is unable to give informed consent to mental health treatment, otherwise known as a "springing power.”
A patient advocate may be authorized to make an anatomical donation on behalf of a deceased individual. A patient advocate may also be given a medical paradox, giving the patient advocate the right to access the patient’s medical information effective on execution of the authorization, otherwise known as a HIPPA Authorization.