The Office of the Long-Term-Care Patient Representative

The Office of the Long-Term-Care Patient Representative, a new program within the California Department of Aging, will soon begin providing trained representatives for specified long-term care residents who may need medical treatment but lack the capacity to make health care decisions and have no legal surrogate authorized to make decisions on their behalf.

Background

Under state law (Health and Safety Code section 1418.8), skilled nursing and intermediate care facilities may convene an interdisciplinary team to make medical decisions for residents who lack capacity and have no legal surrogate. These teams include the resident’s physician, a registered nurse responsible for the resident’s care, and other appropriate staff, In the past, the teams also sometimes included patient representatives, but this was not required. As the result of a court case, skilled nursing and intermediate care facilities will be required to include a patient representative when they convene an interdisciplinary team. The new requirement will take effect January 27, 2023.

Identifying Patient Representatives

Under the new requirements, facilities are responsible for identifying a friend, relative, or someone else to serve as a patient representative when an interdisciplinary team is convened. If the facility is unable to identify a representative, the Office of the Long-Term Care Patient Representative will provide a public patient representative who has completed required training and passed a criminal background check.

Opening

The Office of the Long-Term Care Patient Representative will open its doors no later than January 27, 2023.

Contact

For questions about the new program, email OPR@aging.ca.gov.