The Health Care Proxy Law: A Guidebook for Health Care Professionals

Introduction

The Health Care Proxy Law, Article 29–C of the New York Public Health Law, enables competent adults to protect their health care wishes by appointing someone they trust – a health care agent – to decide about treatment on their behalf when they are unable to decide for themselves. Unless stated otherwise, a health care agent can make all decisions that the patient could make while competent. This guidebook, prepared by the New York State Department of Health and the New York State Task Force on Life and the Law, provides health care professionals with information about the Proxy Law.

The Department of Health has also prepared a proxy form and information about the law for patients and family members. A copy of the form appears as Appendix A to this guidebook. You can obtain additional copies at your facility or by writing to the Department of Health at:

The New York State Department of Health
Box 2000
Albany, NY 12220

The Proxy Law is based on recommendations by the New York State Task Force on Life and the Law. If you want information about the ethical, legal and policy considerations underlying the law, you can obtain a copy of the Task Force's report, "Life–Sustaining Treatment: Making Decisions and Appointing a Health Care Agent," by writing to the Task Force at:

New York State Task Force On Life & The Law
90 Church St
New York, NY 10001.