California Advance Healthcare Directive


There are three main options for the drafting of documents in planning for health care decisions:

  • A statutory advance healthcare directive form ;
  • Preprinted forms, including the California Medical Association (CMA) , the California Hospital Association (CHA) form, a simply worded form from the Institute for Healthcare Advancement , and a form designed for persons with developmental disabilities from the Coalition for CompassionateCare of California; and
  • An attorney-drafted custom form, complying with statutory requirements.

Advance Healthcare Directive

Selecting the appropriate option will depend greatly on the health care choices the client wishes to make. The CMA form is the most widely used because hospital staff, hospice workers, doctors, and other health care providers accept it as a legally binding document. Using the CHA form may be prudent if the person signing it wants additional protection for not prolonging his or her life in situations not covered in the CMA form. The CHA form follows the statutory language exactly, while the CMA form departs from it in several key areas. The easily understood form is useful for a client who may have trouble reading or comprehending legal documents. The form from the Coalition for Compassionate Care is an excellent choice for clients with developmental disabilities. An attorney-drafted form may be questioned by an inexperienced health care facility employee who is familiar only with the preprinted forms. Such questions may cause delays in treatment while the document is being approved by a hospital’s legal department. Attorney-drafted forms may occasionally be appropriate for a client with an unusual health condition or specific health care wishes that can be effectively communicated only in a custom document.
In addition to the primary documents for health care decisions, there are several related documents that should be considered:
  • Release of protected health care information under the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) and the California Confidentiality of Medical Information Act (CMIA);
  • Request regarding resuscitative measures;
  • Anatomical gift of body or organs; and
  • Nomination of conservator of the person