How The Registry Works

The U.S. Advance Care Plan Registry®  is a secure, on-line database where you can store your advance directive. Your document can be easily accessed by you, or by health care providers anywhere.  You can register directly from this web site by visiting How to Register.  You can purchase registration for yourself, or you can purchase a gift registration for someone else.

You complete a Registration Agreement that gives the Registry permission to send a copy of your document to any health care provider (hospitals, doctors, skilled nursing facilities, nursing facilities, home health agencies, providers of home health care, ambulatory surgery centers, and hospices). The Registry agrees not to release your information to any party other than health care providers, so your personal information is kept private and confidential, just like a medical record.

The advance directive document is scanned and electronically stored in the Registry’s computer along with your emergency contact information. 

Your registration is confirmed with a letter that contains labels to affix to your insurance card & driver’s license, stating that your advance directive is registered, and a wallet card listing your Registration #. 

A personal on-line account is also established, which you can use to access and make changes to your personal information and download, fax or email your document as needed.  If you ever decide to change your document, you can do so yourself through your online personal account. 

There is also a free, mobile application, available at the Apple App Store or the Android App Store.  You can view, download, fax or email your document right from your smartphone.  This is a great way to send electronic copies of your document to your family members, so they can easily access it if needed.  It also makes it easy to provide the document to the facility prior to a surgical procedure.

You are contacted annually to confirm that your wishes have not been changed or revoked, and to update personal and emergency contact information. You are reminded to make changes to personal or emergency contact information using your on-line account. You can also certify that your document is up to date and still reflects your wishes from your on-line account. Once you certify that your document is up to date, the date of this certification will be shown as a “Last Updated” date whenever the document is accessed. In this way, there is no doubt as to whether the document still represents your wishes. This annual update reminder is included with your registration.

Your documents are available online, 24 hours a day with the information on your wallet card.  

If the wallet is card is not available, any health care provider can contact the Registry at 1-800-LIV-WILL to gain access to advance directives, organ donor information and emergency contact information, or simply to inquire as to whether any patient has an advance directive.  Member health care providers can use the on-line service to access documents from the Registry. They can access your document by using your name and birth date.

You will have peace of mind knowing that your advance directive is safe, secure, and available to your family and doctors whenever and wherever it is needed. Because providers can simply contact the Registry to see if any patient has an advance directive, they can still retrieve your document, even if you don’t have your card.

Some people feel uncomfortable giving their advance directive document to their health insurance company or to the federal government. The U.S. Advance Care Plan Registry® is an independent organization that simply stores your document securely, and makes it available when needed…insurance companies and government agencies do not have access to your documents.  The Registry has nothing to do with paying for your health care, so there is no possible conflict of interest.

How to Prepare and Register an Advance Directive

If you already have an advance directive, follow the simple directions which follow for registering it.

If you do not have an advance directive, think about the kinds of medical treatment you wish to have, or not have, if you are incapacitated, and discuss them with your chosen decision-maker and your family. Next, formalize your wishes in an advance directive. For assistance in preparing your advance directive, visit your local hospital, ask an attorney, or visit the Advance Directive Forms or Internet Resources pages on this site. Some of the organizations listed in the resources section provide state-specific advance directive forms which you can download or request by mail or telephone.

Make sure your choices and personal philosophy about medical treatments are clearly stated in your advance directive.

To Register Your Advance Directive

Visit the “How to Register” page for instructions on how to register your advance directive.

You will receive confirmation when your advance directive is processed.

To read comments from registrants and attorneys, visit the “Testimonials” page..

Born of Necessity…

U.S. Advance Care Plan Registry® was founded by Joseph T. Barmakian, M.D., a New Jersey Board Certified Orthopedic Surgeon. Dr. Barmakian has witnessed the ordeal of patients’ families as they confront the painful, guilt-ridden decisions of life support and medical treatment. He has also felt the frustration of doctors who don’t have access to patients’ wishes. It was in 1996 that Dr. Barmakian first recognized the need for a registry service that not only recorded patients’ advance directives, but also made it easier for health care facilities to obtain the information. Dr. Barmakian felt it was critical to establish a system which provides medical personnel and patient’s families with advance directives whenever and wherever they are needed while maintaining the patient’s privacy and confidentiality. U.S. Advance Care Plan Registry® fulfills these criteria, providing easy, 24-hour access to patients’ wishes.  Originally founded in 1996 as the U.S. Living Will Registry, evolution in the field of advance care planning spurred us to update the name to the U.S. Advance Care Plan Registry®.  The Registry is the longest continuously operating advance directive registry in the world, and now stores all types of advance care planning documents.