Qualified Advance Directive Facilitators

The 2017 General Assembly enacted legislation (CHAP 747) to allow a Qualified Advance Directive Facilitator (QADF) to provide assistance in completing and executing a written advance directive, without fear of being charged with the unauthorized practice of law.  In order for someone to hold him or herself out as being a QADF, he or she must successfully complete a training program that has been approved by the Virginia Department of Health (VDH).  The statute also specifies that the provision of “ministerial assistance” with regard to completing or executing an advance directive shall not constitute the unauthorized practice of law.

The legislation identifies specific training programs that may be approved by VDH:

  • Honoring Choices Virginia training program
  • Virginia POST Collaborative Advance Care Planning facilitator training program
  • Training provided by UVA Institute of Law, Psychiatry and Public Policy (provided under contract with DBHDS)
  • Any program that follows the Respecting Choices Advance Care Planning Model

The statute specifies that training programs approved by VDH shall include:

  • instruction on the meaning of provisions of a form meeting the requirements of § 1-2984, including designating a health care agent and giving instructions relating to one or more specific types of health care, and
  • requirements for demonstrating competence in assisting persons with completing and executing advance directives, including a written examination on information provided during the training program.

Review of the Proposed Training Programs

On June 13, 2017, VDH convened a meeting to receive presentations from the organizations concerning their respective QADF training programs:

University of Virginia Institute of Law, Psychiatry and Public Policy

Honoring Choices Virginia/Richmond Academy of Medicine

Respecting Choices

Virginia POST Collaborative

The presentations were made to a review panel consisting of representatives from the following agencies:

  • VDH
  • Virginia State Bar
  • Virginia Department of Aging and Rehabilitative Services

Based on the review panel’s recommendation, on July 10, 2017 State Health Commissioner approved the following training programs:

  • University of Virginia Institute of Law, Psychiatry and Public Policy; and
  • Honoring Choices Virginia/Richmond Academy of Medicine.

Further, based on the review panel’s recommendation, on July 10, 2017, the State Health Commissioner conditionally approved the training programs of the following entities utilize the Respecting Choices model, conditioned upon their submitting a copy of their written examination and Advance Directive form to VDH for review within 30 days:

  • Valley Health
  • Sentara Healthcare
  • Carilion Clinic
  • Palliative Care Partnership of the Roanoke Valley
  • Blue Ridge Hospice