Compassion and Support


Patients & Families


Family Health Care Decisions Act

On March 16, 2010, Governor David Paterson signed the Family Health Care Decisions Act (FHCDA) into law! FHCDA now enables a patient's family member - including his or her domestic partner - to make health care decisions when the patient is not able to do so. For details on the bill, print Text at (S.03164 or A.07729).  For the latest copy of the full FHCD.

New York State is no longer a state that prohibits family members from making health care decisions for incapacitated loved ones.  Under former New York law, no one - not even a concerned family member - had the right to make decisions about medical treatment for patients who lack capacity; unless the patient had signed a health care proxy or left "clear and convincing evidence" of his or her treatment wishes.  Unfortunately, many people never complete a health care proxy or leave clear and convincing evidence of their health care treatment wishes.  As a result, some incapacitated patients were denied appropriate treatment, while others were subjected to burdensome, highly invasive treatment that violated their wishes and prolonged their suffering.

The Family Health Care Decisions Act (FHCDA) allows family members and others who are closest to the patient to act as surrogates and make decisions regarding medical treatment for a loved one in certain limited situations.  The legislation includes numerous safeguards to ensure sound medical treatment and that decisions are made consistent with the patient's wishes and best interests.  Over 100 organizations supported the passage of the Family Health Care Decisions Act, as listed on the NHDD New York State Coalition Collaborators page.

Thank you for taking action!

Your voice was heard about the importance of enacting FHCDA as you did send a letter supporting Family Health Care Decisions Act to your New York State legislators by using the MSSNY Grassroots Action Center!  Thank you to all members of the National Healthcare Decisions Day New York State Coalition and special thanks to the Medical Society of the State of New York and the NHDD NYS Coalition FHCDA Subcommittee.

Stories, Testimony & Report

Discover why passage of FHCDA matters to all New York State citizens.

Read stories of fellow New Yorkers

Read legislative testimony


Read op-ed and news stories

Do your Health Care Proxy today!

Be an advocate for yourself and your family.  Follow Five Easy Steps.

Special thanks to the Fellows from the Community Health Foundation of Western and Central New York who have assisted in developing this page and identifying the stories of real individuals who would have benefitted from Family Health Care Decisions Act.  The Fellows continue to advocate for this critical piece of legislation.

Thank you to the Medical Society of the State of New York for supporting Family Health Care Decisions Act and hosting the letter supporting FHCDA in their Grassroots Action Center.

Thanks also to the National Healthcare Decisions Day New York State Coalition, Family Health Care Decisions Act Subgroup for assisting in the design and revisions of this page as well as for supporting Family Health Care Decisions Act.