Florida Medical Power of Attorney
This page is a quick summary of what a Florida Medical Power of Attorney form is. It is an extension of our exploration into the realm of the world of POA documents. If you are just landing here on this page and are just starting to learn about these documents and agreements, please follow this link to learn about the basics behind the Power of Attorney forms in Florida.
The Three Questions Answered Below
- What does a Medical POA Florida (state-specific version) allow an agent to do?
- What are the legal restrictions that went into effect in October 2011?
- Is my old medical power of attorney form still valid?
What Do I Put in the Agreement to Determine What My Agent Can Decide?
A health care Power of Attorney, also called a health care proxy, is required before you can sign the Medicare Part D application as an agent. If you want to limit the health care agent’s ability to make end-of-life-care decisions, it must be written in the Florida Medical Power of Attorney agreement version or living will form before you sign it. Florida law states that medical care cannot be denied or given over your objection if you are still competent to do so. For example, if the medical POA form states that care shall be denied and you can clearly state that you want medical care, the agent cannot deny you care.
An agent can agree or refuse any and all medical care on your behalf. If you have a Do Not Resuscitate (or DNR) order, you should give it to your agent and the hospital to prevent conflicts. If the DNR is on file with the hospital, the hospital may or may not allow the agent to order continued treatment.
When Does the Medical POA Take Effect?
Power of attorney documents, also called the designation of a health care surrogate, are valid and come in effect from the moment it is executed (this is new in Florida since 2011) until the principal’s death in most cases. It is valid for life unless an expiration date is written into the document, revoked, or if the principal has stated explicitly in the POA that it expires when someone regains the ability to make decisions for themselves.
A law that went into effect on October first, 2011, requires a physician’s review to determine that someone is incapacitated. And if the principal is already in a nursing home, a government official or social worker must be present to prevent the principal from being pressured to sign the Medical POA.
Florida law no longer allows springing medical POA forms to be signed after 10/01/2011, though springing durable medical POA forms signed before that date are still valid. However, if the durable springing POA was signed before that date, a doctor must certify that you have a disability before it “springs” or goes into effect.
Please read more about the Durable Power of Attorney forms in Florida.
Where is the POA Kept?
Your primary care doctor and nearest hospitals should have copies of your POA form. You do not have to update the POA form to include new locations where copies of the POA form are kept, but you must retrieve all copies of the POA and destroy them to avoid potential conflicts.
Florida’s Laws on the POA
A health care POA should cite Florida statute 765.202. Florida medical POA documents state whether or not life-sustaining treatment will be given. The three main choices are to let the agent decide, direct the agent to withdraw treatment, or make all efforts to save the principal’s life.
Florida POA forms also give space to write out one’s own wishes. The medical POA also includes a statement on the usage of feeding tubes. If the principal does not answer this question on the POA, the agent cannot deny a feeding tube’s insertion or withdraw it later.
Florida does not require all residents to have a medical POA. However, if you do not have a Medical Power of Attorney form, your family may argue over what to do when you are in the hospital.