The Patient Self-Determination Act (PSDA), passed in 1990 and instituted on December 1, 1991, encourages all people to make choices and decisions now about the types and extent of medical care they want to accept or refuse should they become unable to make those decisions due to illness.
The PSDA requires all health care agencies (hospitals, long-term care facilities, and home health agencies) receiving Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement to recognize the living will and power of attorney for health care as advance directives.
The PSDA does not create new rights for patients but reaffirms the common-law right of self-determination as guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment. Under the PSDA, health care agencies must ask you whether you have advance directives and must provide you with educational materials about your rights under state law.
American Cancer Society Website, http://www.cancer.org/docroot/MIT/content/MIT_3_2X_The_Patient_Self-Determination_Act.asp?sitearea=MIT.