What is a Health Care Surrogate?
This article is intended for informational purposes only and is not intended to be legal advice.
According to Florida Statute 765.101(21), a Health Care Surrogate is a “competent adult expressly designated by a Principal to make health care decisions and to receive health information. The Principal may stipulate whether the authority of the surrogate to make health care decisions or to receive health information is exercisable immediately without the necessity for a determination of incapacity or only upon the Principal’s incapacity.” Florida Statute 765.101(18) defines a Principal as “a competent adult executing an Advance Directive and on whose behalf heath care decisions are to be made or health care information is to be received, or both.” Fla. Statute 765.101(5) defines health care as “care, services, or supplies related to the health of an individual and includes, but is not limited to, preventative, diagnostic, therapeutic, rehabilitative, maintenance, or palliative care, and counseling, service, assessment, or procedure with respect to the individual’s physical or mental condition or functional status or that affect the structure or function of the individual’s body.”
In summary, a Health Care Surrogate
in Florida is a legal document in which you, the Principal, authorize a person, known as the Health Care Surrogate, to make health care decisions on your behalf. This document must be in writing and may later be revoked and a new one drafted and executed, if necessary.
Any person over the age of eighteen may be designated your Health Care Surrogate, but that person should be aware of their designation and your wishes regarding your medical care. Decisions typically made by the Health Care Surrogate include: consenting to medical procedures, applying to state programs to offset medical costs, and accessing medical information reasonably necessary to make informed decisions on your health. The Health Care Surrogate’s authority may be effective only upon incapacity or immediately upon the signing of the document, depending on your wishes. You may and it is recommended to also choose an alternate Health Care Surrogate who may act on behalf of the original in the event the original is unable to serve.
Why should I have a Health Care Surrogate?
Each person has a right to make decisions regarding their health care. In the event of incapacity, there may be a disagreement among family members or they may not abide by treatments that you would have wanted or about medical treatment offered. A Health Care Surrogate designation helps to avoid these issues and ensures that your right to make an individual choice is protected, even upon incapacity.