Code of the District of Columbia

§ 21–2202. Definitions.

*NOTE: This section includes amendments by temporary legislation that will expire on February 4, 2022. To view the text of this section after the expiration of all emergency and temporary legislation affecting this section, click this link: Permanent Version.*

For the purposes of this subchapter, the term:

(1) “Attorney in fact” means the person who receives the power of attorney for health-care decisions pursuant to the provisions of this subchapter.

(1A) “Close friend” means any adult who has exhibited significant care and concern for the patient, and has maintained regular contact with the patient so as to be familiar with his or her activities, health, and religious and moral beliefs.

(2) “District” means the District of Columbia.

(2A) “Domestic partner” means an adult person living with, but not married to, another adult person in a committed, intimate relationship. The term “domestic partner” shall include any adult who has registered as a domestic partner under the Health Care Benefits Expansion Act of 1992, effective June 11, 1992 (D.C. Law 9-114; D.C. Official Code § 32-701 et seq.), as well as any adult who has registered as a domestic partner in a substantially equivalent program administered by another jurisdiction.

(2B) “Domestic partnership” means 2 adult persons living together, but not married, in a committed, intimate relationship. The term “domestic partnership” shall include any relationship registered under § 32-701(4), as well as any relationship in another jurisdiction that includes a substantially equivalent registration requirement, including those relationships recognized under § 32-702(i).

(3) “Durable power of attorney for health care” means a legally enforceable document that:

(A) Is executed in the District in a manner consistent with this subchapter or validly executed in another jurisdiction pursuant to similar provisions of the law of that jurisdiction; and

(B) Creates a power of attorney for health-care decisions, which is effective upon, and only during incapacitation and is unaffected by the subsequent disability or incapacity of the principal as defined in this subchapter.

(3A) "Electronic" means relating to technology having electrical, digital, magnetic, wireless, optical, electromagnetic, or similar capabilities.

(3B) "Electronic presence" means when one or more witnesses are in a different physical location than the principal but can observe and communicate with the principal and one another to the same extent as if the witnesses and principal were physically present with one another.

(4) “Health-care provider” means any person or organizational entity, including health care facilities as defined in § 44-501, licensed or otherwise authorized to provide health-care services in the District.

(5) “Incapacitated individual” means an adult individual who lacks sufficient mental capacity to appreciate the nature and implications of a health-care decision, make a choice regarding the alternatives presented or communicate that choice in an unambiguous manner.

(5A) “Member of a religious order or diocesan priest” means an unmarried adult who, by vow or other bond of commitment, voluntarily undertakes a style of living under the rule and direction of a religious order or community that has been established for religious purposes and has been recognized and approved as a religious order or community by a church.

(6) “Principal” means a person who is competent to make health-care decisions for his or her own benefit or on his or her own account.

(6A) “Qualified psychologist” means a person who is licensed pursuant to § 3-1205.01 and has:

(A) One year of formal training within a hospital setting; or

(B) Two years of supervised clinical experience in an organized health-care setting, one year of which must be post-doctoral.

(6B) "Record" means information that is inscribed on a tangible medium or that is stored in an electronic medium and is retrievable in perceivable form.

(7) “Religious superior” means a bishop or a member of a religious order who, under the approved constitution, laws, statutes, bylaws, or rules of the religious order or community, exercises authority over the particular community or unit of the religious order to which the member of the religious order or community belongs.

(8) "Sign" means with present intent to authenticate or adopt a record to:

(A) Execute or adopt a tangible symbol; or

(B) Affix to or associate with the record an electronic signature.