Q: How are Data Use Agreements approved?
A: Please send all Data Use Agreements to the Office of Contracts Management via https://peer.mc.vanderbilt.edu/contracts/requests?NewContract=1.  Under the Contracts Tab please select “Create A Request.”

Q: What is a Conservator?
A: A Conservator is a court-appointed decision maker for a disabled adult.  The Conservator has the authorities listed in the court’s order and in the letters of Conservatorship.  If a patient has a Conservator, the rights and authorities listed in the order and letters have been removed from the patient and given to the Conservator. 

Q: What is the standard for a Conservatorship?
A: To appoint a Conservator in TN, a court finds by clear and convincing evidence that (1) the individual is fully or partially disabled, (2) the individual is in need of assistance from the court, and (3) the appointment of a Conservator is the least restrictive alternative for the protection of the individual’s person and property.

Q: What is the legal definition of disability in TN for the purpose of a Conservatorship?
A: An individual with a disability is any person over 18 determined by the court to be in need of partial or full supervision, protection, and assistance by reason of mental illness, physical illness or injury, developmental disability, or other mental or physical incapacity. 

Q: What is a Guardian Ad Litem (GAL)?
A: Guardian Ad Litem is a person appointed by the court in the Conservatorship process to investigate the need for a Conservator and to make a report to the court with specific recommendations. 

Q: What is a Guardian?
A: A Guardian is a court-appointed decision maker for a minor.

Q: What are the other types of court-appointed decision makers for adults?
A: There are 2 types of temporary of court-appointed decision makers.  These are not the same as Conservators. 

  • (1) Expedited Limited Health Fiduciary (ELHF or ELF) is a court-appointed decision maker for 60 days for an individual who is hospitalized to consent to discharge, transfer, and admission and any financial arrangements or medical care necessary to affect the same. 
  • (2) An Emergency Conservator is a court-appointed decision maker for 60 days for an adult, which is pursued on an emergency basis to prevent likely substantial harm to the individual’s health, safety, and/or welfare.

Q: What is the “Report of Physician” form?
A: The Report of Physician is a form for the court’s use in the appointment of decision makers.  The Report must be completed by a physician, not a NP, and it must be notarized.  In order for VUMC to initiate Expedited Limited Healthcare Fiduciary (ELHF) or Emergency Conservatorship proceedings, a Report must be completed.  The “Report of Physician” form is located on TMO SharePoint.

Q: How can VUMC initiate the process to obtain a court-appointed decision maker?
A: A physician should sign and have the Report of Physician notarized, and the floor social worker should complete the Information Sheet located on TMO SharePoint.  The completed Report and Information Sheet should be securely sent to the Office of Legal Affairs (OLA) paralegal, Kiersten Collier, at kiersten.n.collier@vumc.org.

Q: What is the timeframe for the appointment of a decision maker?
A: For an Expedited Limited Healthcare Fiduciary (ELHF) and an Emergency Conservator, a decision maker is appointed on the day the case is filed with the court.  For a Conservatorship, a decision maker is appointed following the hearing, which generally occurs 3-8 weeks after the case is filed with the court. 

Q: What is the court process for an Expedited Limited Healthcare Fiduciary (ELHF) and an Emergency Conservatorship?
A: The OLA and outside counsel prepare the Petition, which is signed by the CEO and notarized.  The Petition and exhibits, including the Report of Physician, are filed with the court to start the proceedings, and an Attorney Ad Litem (AAL) is appointed.  These cases have 3 hearings – the initial hearing, the appropriateness hearing, and the final hearing, which all occur within the 60-day appointment period.

Q: What is an Attorney Ad Litem (AAL)?
A: An Attorney Ad Litem is an attorney appointed by the court to act as counsel for the individual for whom a decision maker is being sought.  An Attorney Ad Litem is appointed in every Expedited Limited Healthcare Fiduciary (ELHF) and Emergency Conservatorship case.

Q: What is the court process for a Conservatorship?
A: A Petition is filed, and the Court generally appoints a Guardian Ad Litem (GAL) and sets a hearing date within 3-8 weeks.

Q: How are costs assessed in Expedited Limited Healthcare Fiduciary (ELHF) and Emergency Conservatorship cases? 
A: The court determines how the costs are taxed in these cases.