Communicating Your Health Care Choices

Make Your Medical Wishes Clear

Individuals usually make decisions regarding their health care treatment after their doctor recommends a course of treatment and provides information about the treatment options. These decisions become more difficult if patients are unable to tell their doctors and loved ones what kind of health care treatment they want. We encourage you to discuss your specific wishes with your family members/close friends, and to put details in writing to avoid confusion or misunderstanding.

Consent to Treatment

Informed Consent

You have the right to decide what may be done to your body during the course of medical treatment. Your doctor will discuss the nature of your condition, the proposed treatment and any alternate treatments that are available. Your doctor will also provide you with information about the risks associated with surgical and invasive medical procedures. This information will help you make an informed decision about the kind of treatment you want to receive. For certain procedures, you may be asked to sign a consent form, verifying that you understand what your doctor has told you.

Surrogate Decision-Maker

If you become unable to make your own health care decisions, and you haven’t provided an advance directive, your doctor or other health care provider will look to the following people (in the order listed) for decisions about your health care:

  • Legal guardian or your medical power of attorney agent
  • Spouse, unless you are legally separated
  • Adult child (if you have more than one adult child, the doctor or health care provider must seek consent of a majority of those children reasonably available)
  • Parent
  • Domestic partner, if unmarried
  • Brother/sister
  • Close friend

Advance Directives

Arizona law allows you to make certain decisions and provide guidance as to your wishes about your future medical care. These laws provide an opportunity for you to decide (1) who will represent you and (2) what medical care you want if you become ill and can no longer make medical treatment decisions for yourself. Documents known as advance directives give you the ability to express their treatment preferences before you actually need care, ensuring that your wishes will be carried out and that families or others won’t be faced with making difficult decisions without guidance.

Learn more about Advance Directives.

Notice of Privacy Practice

The privacy regulations adopted under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) govern the use and release of a patient’s personal health information, also known as protected health information (PHI).

Under the HIPAA privacy regulations, a Joint Notice of Privacy Practices is provided to all patients. This notice provides patients with information about how their PHI will be used and how, in certain situations, patients are given the opportunity to restrict the use of their PHI. Hospitals may use and disclose PHI without a patient’s authorization for the purpose of treatment, payment and health care operations.

We ask that you identify one person who can be your communication representative to share information you wish to be disclosed to family members or loved ones. If you’re unable to make decisions for yourself, the medical team will be sharing your health information with your health care power of attorney or your assigned surrogate decision-maker.