Advance Medical Care Plan

What is an Advance Medical Care Plan?

Think of this document as a better, more detailed Advance Directive (you may know it as a “Living Will”).  Most commonly found Advance Directives are not detailed enough to be useful for doctors or families. They don’t have enough information about the kind of care that will guarantee the quality of life you wish to have if you can’t make your own medical decisions. Koda helps you create values-based, comprehensive instructions that give you, your family and your healthcare providers confidence that they are doing exactly as you wish.

My family/friends know what I want…is it really necessary to fill out this form?

Yes! When there are no documented instructions for making difficult medical decisions, next-of-kin decision-makers are accurate only about 50% of the time. Further, these difficult choices on someone else’s behalf often create a lot of stress, anxiety, and conflict between family members who believe they know best what a patient would have wanted. Koda’s structured conversation and the document that’s created from it helps avoid such confusion, discord and distress. It ensures you receive the exact care for the quality of life that is important to you.

I already filled out a different Advance Directive form. Do I need to fill out the Koda Advance Care Medical Plan (AMCP)?

Yes.  Koda’s digital form helps you explore what values and quality of life is important to you in more depth than other forms. Completing the Koda form provides your doctors, medical decision makers and loved ones with more clarity. Because it is digital, people you authorize will always have secure access to the most updated version of your Advance Medical Care Plan. In a time of medical crisis they won’t need to worry about finding a paper document, or whether it has been updated by you. Your Advance Care Medical Plan (AMCP) is securely stored in the cloud so that all authorized people can find it when they need it.

How much does this cost? What’s the catch?

It’s free for Medicare participants! People not yet on Medicare should talk to their health care or health insurance providers to see if it’s covered.

Is this Advance Care Medical Plan (AMCP) the same as a Will?

No. An Advance Care Medical Plan (AMCP) is for when you are still alive and is your legally protected instructions about the type of medical care you want if you can’t make medical decisions for yourself (eg, you are in a coma or on life support). A Will (or Last Will and Testament) is only relevant after your death and instructs how you wish to distribute your money, possessions and property.

What do I do after I’ve filled out the Koda Advance Care Medical Plan (AMCP) form?

Koda guides you through the steps to help you complete the requirements for your state of legal residence. This may include getting your document witnessed and notarized. After this step has been completed, Koda will ensure that anyone you authorize — medical Power of Attorney, loved ones, your doctors, your hospitals — will always have access to your Advance Care Medical Plan (AMCP).

What if I change my decisions after I filled out and finalized the form?

It is very common for people’s preferences and decisions to change. Everyone’s health or minds change throughout their lives. Because our form is digital it is easy to make changes. After any change Koda will help you sign the changed document and go through any required notarization or witnessing process again. Koda will then send the revised documents to your medical decision makers (and any other loved ones), your doctors, and your hospitals.

Medical Power of Attorney

What is a Medical Power of Attorney and how do I pick one?

A legal Medical Power of Attorney (also called a Medical Decision Maker) is someone you legally empower to make medical decisions for you if you are ever in a health condition where you’re unable to make those decisions yourself. A Medical Power of Attorney is a document that needs to be filled out, witnessed, notarized and distributed for it to have legal protection and authority. The person (or persons) you pick as your Medical Power of Attorney must know you have picked them and understand what the role requires them to do. The person you pick must be a willing participant. Your Medical Power of Attorney does not have to be related to you but it is helpful if it is someone local to you. For example: a lawyer can be designated as your medical Power of Attorney. If you do not pick a Medical Power of Attorney ahead of time, your state’s law may determine who will speak for you.

When can my Medical Power of Attorney make decisions for me?

They can only make decisions in your own best interest when you aren’t able to make them yourself, like when you have experienced a serious accident, sickness or medical condition that prevents you from being able to communicate. Your Medical Power of Attorney can legally communicate with your treatment team and make decisions based on your ACMP.

If I have a legally assigned Medical Power of Attorney, why do I need an Advance Care Medical Plan (AMCP)?

Because there are many decisions to consider regarding medical treatments and care that can greatly impact your quality of life if you’re not able to speak for yourself. You are the only one who can make decisions that match your beliefs and values and expectations. Having an Advance Care Medical Plan (AMCP) allows your Medical PoA to quickly, easily and confidently carry out your wishes. There will never be any burden or second-guessing by your representative, loved ones or medical team.

What happens if I don’t have a legally assigned Medical Power of Attorney?

If you don’t have a legal Medical Power of Attorney or an Advance Care Plan in place ahead of time, then your state’s laws determine who will make decisions for you. And that might not be someone you want speaking for you. If this isn’t done ahead of time, your loved ones may have to get lawyers involved and petition the court for guardianship, which can be lengthy and expensive. For example, in some states the order of medical decision makers is the following:

1) Your legal spouse
2) An adult child, with the waiver and consent of all other qualified adult children.
3) The majority of your adult children. Conflict among adult children often leads to lengthy court battles that can destroy families and delay medical care.
4) Your parents or parent
5) An individual clearly identified to act on your behalf before you became incapacitated, like your nearest living relative, or a member of the clergy.

NOTE: if you are separated from your spouse (but still legally married) or estranged from your next-of-kin, doctors are still legally required to consult with that individual to make decisions on your behalf if you do not have an Advance Care Medical Plan (AMCP)! This is why it is so important to create and then review and update your Advance Care Medical Plan (AMCP) whenever there is a change in your life or health situation.

Is Medical Power of Attorney the same as a Financial Power of Attorney?

No. A Medical Power of Attorney only makes decisions about your medical care. A Financial Power of Attorney only makes decisions about your finances.

We’d planned for my father after his Alzheimer’s diagnosis. But, we never planned for my mother because she was so much younger than him and she wasn’t sick. We just didn’t think of it. She had a brain aneurysm at the age of 59 in the midst of hosting a dinner party, literally holding the gravy boat. She was brain dead, but her body was still alive. I didn’t know my mother’s wishes – we’d never talked about this.

– Jay Newton-Small, Age 40