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7.70.060  <<  7.70.065 >>   7.70.068

RCW 7.70.065

Informed consent — Persons authorized to provide for patients who are not competent — Priority.

(1) Informed consent for health care for a patient who is not competent, as defined in RCW 11.88.010(1)(e), to consent may be obtained from a person authorized to consent on behalf of such patient.

     (a) Persons authorized to provide informed consent to health care on behalf of a patient who is not competent to consent, based upon a reason other than incapacity as defined in RCW 11.88.010(1)(d), shall be a member of one of the following classes of persons in the following order of priority:

     (i) The appointed guardian of the patient, if any;

     (ii) The individual, if any, to whom the patient has given a durable power of attorney that encompasses the authority to make health care decisions;

     (iii) The patient's spouse or state registered domestic partner;

     (iv) Children of the patient who are at least eighteen years of age;

     (v) Parents of the patient; and

     (vi) Adult brothers and sisters of the patient.

     (b) If the health care provider seeking informed consent for proposed health care of the patient who is not competent to consent under RCW 11.88.010(1)(e), other than a person determined to be incapacitated because he or she is under the age of majority and who is not otherwise authorized to provide informed consent, makes reasonable efforts to locate and secure authorization from a competent person in the first or succeeding class and finds no such person available, authorization may be given by any person in the next class in the order of descending priority. However, no person under this section may provide informed consent to health care:

     (i) If a person of higher priority under this section has refused to give such authorization; or

     (ii) If there are two or more individuals in the same class and the decision is not unanimous among all available members of that class.

     (c) Before any person authorized to provide informed consent on behalf of a patient not competent to consent under RCW 11.88.010(1)(e), other than a person determined to be incapacitated because he or she is under the age of majority and who is not otherwise authorized to provide informed consent, exercises that authority, the person must first determine in good faith that that patient, if competent, would consent to the proposed health care. If such a determination cannot be made, the decision to consent to the proposed health care may be made only after determining that the proposed health care is in the patient's best interests.

     (2) Informed consent for health care, including mental health care, for a patient who is not competent, as defined in RCW 11.88.010(1)(e), because he or she is under the age of majority and who is not otherwise authorized to provide informed consent, may be obtained from a person authorized to consent on behalf of such a patient.

     (a) Persons authorized to provide informed consent to health care, including mental health care, on behalf of a patient who is incapacitated, as defined in RCW 11.88.010(1)(e), because he or she is under the age of majority and who is not otherwise authorized to provide informed consent, shall be a member of one of the following classes of persons in the following order of priority:

     (i) The appointed guardian, or legal custodian authorized pursuant to Title 26 RCW, of the minor patient, if any;

     (ii) A person authorized by the court to consent to medical care for a child in out-of-home placement pursuant to chapter 13.32A or 13.34 RCW, if any;

     (iii) Parents of the minor patient;

     (iv) The individual, if any, to whom the minor's parent has given a signed authorization to make health care decisions for the minor patient; and

     (v) A competent adult representing himself or herself to be a relative responsible for the health care of such minor patient or a competent adult who has signed and dated a declaration under penalty of perjury pursuant to RCW 9A.72.085 stating that the adult person is a relative responsible for the health care of the minor patient. Such declaration shall be effective for up to six months from the date of the declaration.

     (b) A health care provider may, but is not required to, rely on the representations or declaration of a person claiming to be a relative responsible for the care of the minor patient, under (a)(v) of this subsection, if the health care provider does not have actual notice of the falsity of any of the statements made by the person claiming to be a relative responsible for the health care of the minor patient.

     (c) A health care facility or a health care provider may, in its discretion, require documentation of a person's claimed status as being a relative responsible for the health care of the minor patient. However, there is no obligation to require such documentation.

     (d) The health care provider or health care facility where services are rendered shall be immune from suit in any action, civil or criminal, or from professional or other disciplinary action when such reliance is based on a declaration signed under penalty of perjury pursuant to RCW 9A.72.085 stating that the adult person is a relative responsible for the health care of the minor patient under (a)(v) of this subsection.

     (3) For the purposes of this section, "health care," "health care provider," and "health care facility" shall be defined as established in RCW 70.02.010.

[2007 c 156 § 11; 2006 c 93 § 1; 2005 c 440 § 2; 2003 c 283 § 29; 1987 c 162 § 1.]

Notes:

     Intent -- 2005 c 440: "(1) It is the intent of the legislature to assist children in the care of kin to access appropriate medical services. Children being raised by kin have faced barriers to medical care because their kinship caregivers have not been able to verify that they are the identified primary caregivers of these children. Such barriers pose an especially significant challenge to kinship caregivers in dealing with health professionals when children are left in their care.

     (2) It is the intent of the legislature to assist kinship caregivers in accessing appropriate medical care to meet the needs of a child in their care by permitting such responsible adults who are providing care to a child to give informed consent to medical care." [2005 c 440 § 1.]

     Severability -- Part headings not law--2003 c 283: See RCW 71.32.900 and 71.32.901.