Medical Power of Attorney Agent
Kelvin Chin is a "Medical Power of Attorney Agent."
He acts in this role, specializing in working with those individuals who have no family or friends still surviving or living nearby them, to ensure that those individual's healthcare decisions are followed in the event they become unable to make those decisions for themselves. Kelvin has a long history of being a patient advocate as an ombudsman, and as a mediator and arbitrator.
In this area, the individual patient is called the "principal." For more information, see the "General Information" section (reprinted below with permission from the Texas Medical Association).
Kelvin lives in Los Angeles but can provide this service nationwide in the U.S.
About Kelvin Chin
Kelvin is also the Executive Director and Founder of the Overcoming the Fear of Death Foundation, a nonprofit that helps people reduce and eliminate their fears by increasing their understanding of death and dying. As a result, he often offers this service (of helping reduce one's fears associated with death and dying) to his clients while he is acting as their Medical Power of Attorney Agent, as well as for his client's family and friends.
Kelvin is the author of "Overcoming the Fear of Death: Through Each of the 4 Main Belief Systems." To read an excerpt of the book, CLICK HERE.
He is a former California state-certified Long-Term Care Ombudsman for the Department of Aging, mediator and arbitrator, and co-founder of the Center for Medical Ethics and Mediation. Kelvin is also a former Vice President of the American Arbitration Association.
He is a graduate of Dartmouth College, Yale Graduate School, and Boston College Law School. Kelvin was born in Boston, raised in Norwood, Massachusetts, and has since lived in 6 countries.
[The following information is provided courtesy of the Texas Medical Association for general information and is not intended to serve as legal advice. Any legal advice needed for a particular situation should be obtained from an attorney. Permission is granted by the Texas Medical Association to reproduce this document.]
What is a Medical Power of Attorney?
It is a document, signed by a competent adult, i.e., "principal," designating a person that the principal trusts to make health care decisions on the principal's behalf should the principal be unable to make such decisions. The individual chosen to act on the principal's behalf is referred to as an "agent."
When does the Medical Power of Attorney go into effect and how long is it effective?
It is effective immediately after it is executed and delivered to the agent. It is effective indefinitely unless it contains a specific termination date, it is revoked, or the principal becomes competent.
When does the agent have the right to make health care decisions on the principal's behalf?
An agent may make health care decisions on the principal's behalf only if the principal's attending physician certifies in writing that the principal is incompetent. The physician must file the certification in the principal's medical record.
Can the agent make a health care decision if the principal objects?
No. Treatment may not be given to or withheld from the principal if the principal objects. This is true whether or not the principal is incompetent.
What health care decision making power does the Medical Power of Attorney grant to an agent?
Under a Medical Power of Attorney, an agent is given wide latitude when consenting to treatment on the principal's behalf. However, an agent cannot consent to:
Commitment to a mental institution,
Neglect of comfort care.
And in the Medical Power of Attorney document itself, the principal may limit the agent's decision-making authority.
How is the Medical Power of Attorney revoked?
A Medical Power of Attorney may be revoked by notifying either the agent or the principal's health care provider orally or in writing, of the principal's intent to revoke. This revocation will occur regardless of the principal's capacity to make health care decisions. Further, if the principal executes a later Medical Power of Attorney, then all prior ones are revoked. If the principal designates his/her spouse to be the agent, then a later divorce revokes the Medical Power of Attorney.
What assurance is there that the principal understands the consequences of signing a Medical Power of Attorney?
The Medical Power of Attorney is not legally effective unless the principal signs a disclosure statement that he/she has read and understood the contents of the Medical Power of Attorney before signing the Medical Power of Attorney itself.
Do I need a Medical Power of Attorney?
There is a chance in your lifetime that you may be seriously injured, ill, or otherwise unable to make decisions regarding health care. If this should happen, it would be helpful to have someone who knows your values and in whom you have trust to make such decisions for you.
Who should be selected as an agent?
The principal should be knowledgeable about your wishes, values, and religious beliefs, and in whom you have trust and confidence. In the event your agent does not know of your wishes, that agent should be willing to make health care decisions based upon your best interests.
Can there be more than one agent?
Yes. Although you are not required to designate an alternate agent, you may do so. The alternate agent(s) may make the same health care decisions as the designated agent if the designated agent is unable or unwilling to act.
Who can be an agent?
Anyone may act as an agent other than the following:
The principal's health care provider,
An employee of the health care provider unless the person is a relative of the principal,
The principal's residential care provider, or
An employee of the principal's residential care provider unless the person is the principal's relative.
How can you obtain a Medical Power of Attorney?
You may print one from the Texas Medical Association website:
You may also contact your local hospital, long term care facility, physician, attorney, or nonprofit and state health organization such as the Funeral Consumers Alliance of Central Texas, Texas Hospital Association, Texas Health Care Association, or the Texas Association of Homes for the Aging.
Do you need a witness?
Yes, two witnesses must sign the Medical Power of Attorney. At least one of the witnesses must not be:
Designated by the principal to make a health care decision on the principal's behalf;
Related to the principal by blood or marriage;
The principal's attending physician or an employee of the attending physician;
Entitled to a part of the principal's estate;
A person having a claim against the principal's estate;
An employee of a health care facility in which the principal is a patient if the employee is providing direct care to the principal; or
An officer, director, partner, or business office employee of the health care facility or of any parent organization of the health care facility.
What is the difference between a Medical Power of Attorney and a Directive to Physicians?
The Directive to Physicians is a document that is limited in scope, addressing only the withholding or withdrawing of medical treatment for those persons having a terminal or irreversible condition.
The Medical Power of Attorney is broader in scope and includes all health care decisions with only a few exceptions. The Medical Power of Attorney does not require that the principal be in a terminal or irreversible condition before the principal's agent can make health care decisions on the principal's behalf.
Does a person need a lawyer to execute a Medical Power of Attorney?
No, a lawyer is not necessary in order to execute a Medical Power of Attorney.