Code of the District of Columbia

§ 21–2206. Rights and duties of attorney in fact.

(a) Subject to any express limitations in the durable power of attorney for health care, an attorney in fact shall have all the rights, powers and authority related to health-care decisions that the principal would have under District and federal law. This authority shall include, at a minimum:

(1) The authority to grant, refuse or withdraw consent to the provision of any health-care service, treatment, or procedure;

(2) The right to review the health care records of the principal;

(3) The right to be provided with all information necessary to make informed health-care decisions;

(4) The authority to select and discharge health-care professionals; and

(5) The authority to make decisions regarding admission to or discharge from health-care facilities and to take any lawful actions that may be necessary to carry out these decisions.

(b)(1) Except as provided in paragraph (2) of this subsection and unless a durable power of attorney for health care provides otherwise, the designated attorney in fact, if known to a health-care provider to be available and willing to make a particular health-care decision, shall have priority over any other person to act for the principal in all matters regarding health care.

(2) A designated attorney in fact shall not have the authority to make a particular health-care decision, if the principal is able to give or withhold informed consent with respect to that decision.

(c) In exercising authority under a durable power of attorney for health care, the attorney in fact shall have a duty to act in accordance with:

(1) The wishes of the principal as expressed in the durable power of attorney for health care; or

(2) The good faith belief of the attorney in fact as to the best interests of the principal, if the wishes of the principal are unknown and cannot be ascertained.

(d) Nothing in this subchapter shall affect any right that an attorney in fact may have, independent of the designation in a durable power of attorney for health care, to make or otherwise participate in health-care decisions on behalf of the principal.


(Mar. 16, 1989, D.C. Law 7-189, § 7, 35 DCR 8653; Feb. 5, 1994, D.C. Law 10-68, § 23(g), 40 DCR 6311; Feb. 27, 2016, D.C. Law 21-72, § 2(c)(4), 63 DCR 208.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 21-2206.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 7-1231.06 and § 7-1231.07.

Effect of Amendments

The 2016 amendment by D.C. Law 21-72 substituted “subchapter” for “chapter” in (d).

Cross References

Patient or client records, obtaining from health care providers, see § 3-1210.11.

Applicability

Section 7011 of D.C. Law 22-33 repealed § 4 of D.C. Law 21-72. Therefore the creation of this section by D.C. Law 21-72 has been implemented.

Applicability of D.C. Law 21-72: § 4 of D.C. Law 21-72 provided that the change made to this section by § 2 of D.C. Law 21-72 is subject to the inclusion of the law’s fiscal effect in an approved budget and financial plan. Therefore that amendment has not been given effect.

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90 days) repeal of § 4 of D.C. Law 21-72, see § 7011 of Fiscal Year 2018 Budget Support Congressional Review Emergency Act of 2017 (D.C. Act 22-167, Oct. 24, 2017, 64 DCR 10802).

For temporary (90 days) repeal of § 4 of D.C. Law 21-72, see § 7011 of Fiscal Year 2018 Budget Support Emergency Act of 2017 (D.C. Act 22-104, July 20, 2017, 64 DCR 7032).