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Searching 2021-2022 Session

The Vermont Statutes Online

 

Title 18 : Health

Chapter 181 : JUDICIAL PROCEEDINGS

(Cite as: 18 V.S.A. § 7629)
  • § 7629. Legislative intent

    (a) It is the intention of the General Assembly to recognize the right of a legally competent person to determine whether or not to accept medical treatment absent an emergency or a determination that the person is incompetent and lacks the ability to make a decision and appreciate the consequences.

    (b) The General Assembly adopts the goal of high-quality, patient-centered health care, which the Institute of Medicine defines as "providing care that is respectful of and responsive to individual patient preferences, needs, and values and ensuring that patient values guide all clinical decisions." A substitute decision-maker is sometimes necessary to make a decision about care when a person is incompetent and lacks the ability to make a decision and appreciate the consequences. Even when a person lacks competence, health care that a person is opposing should be avoided whenever possible because the distress and insult to human dignity that result from compelling a person to participate in medical treatment against his or her will are real, regardless of how poorly the person may understand the decision.

    (c) It is the policy of the General Assembly to work toward a mental health system that does not require coercion or the use of involuntary medication.

    (d) This chapter protects the rights and values described in this section through a judicial process to determine competence prior to an order for nonemergency involuntary medication and by limiting the duration of an order for involuntary treatment to no more than one year. The least restrictive order consistent with the person's right to adequate treatment shall be provided in all cases. (Added 1997, No. 114 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 2013, No. 192 (Adj. Sess.), § 16.)