Creating Proxies in Mental Health Facilities

Facilities operated or licensed by the Office of Mental Health (OMH) or the Office of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities (OMRDD) have the same obligation to educate residents as described above for residential health care facilities, except that procedures in these facilities must comply with regulations issued by OMH or OMRDD. In addition, special requirements apply for creating and using health care proxies in these facilities. In OMH facilities, when a resident signs a health care proxy, one witness must be a person who is not affiliated with the facility, and one witness must be a physician certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology.

In facilities licensed by OMRDD, one witness must be someone who is not affiliated with the facility, and one witness must be a physician or clinical psychologist who is: (i) employed by a school named in section 13.17 of the Mental Hygiene Law; or (ii) has been employed for a minimum of two years to render care and servicein a facility operated or licensed by OMRDD; or (iii) has been approved by the Commissioner of OMRDD.

Operators, administrators and employees of mental health facilities, and physicians affiliated with a mental health facility or a psychiatric unit of a general hospital, may not serve as agent for an individual residing in or being treated by such facility or unit unless: (i) they are related to the person; or (ii) they were appointed agent prior to the patient's admission, or application for admission, to the facility.

Is a mental hygiene ward or unit of a general hospital deemed a mental hygiene facility for purposes of the Proxy Law?

Yes, if the ward or unit is operated or licensed by OMH or OMRDD.