Update On California's End Of Life Option Act

Author:Mr Claire N. Marblestone
Profession:Foley & Lardner

In June 2016, California became the fifth state to enact an aid-in-dying law. California's End of Life Option Act (the "Act") authorizes an adult who is suffering from a terminal disease and meets other qualifications to request an aid-in-dying drug that may be prescribed for the purpose of ending his or her life. Cal. Health & Safety Code § 443.2.

The California Department of Public Health ("CDPH") and the California Medical Board have published forms for providers to use when fulfilling a patient's request under the Act. CDPH is expected to report the number of people who died using aid-in-dying drugs, and other information collected from health care providers participating in activities authorized by the Act.

Since the effective date of the Act (June 9, 2016), California health care providers and health care facilities have been grappling with complying with the Act's requirements. To fulfill a patient's request under the Act, health care providers must follow specific protocols outlined in the Act, and ensure that proper documentation is completed. Individual health care providers are not obligated to participate in activities authorized by the Act, and may not be subject to civil, criminal, disciplinary, or medical staff actions for refusing to participate in activities authorized by the Act. The Act allows certain health care providers, including licensed hospitals and skilled nursing facilities, to prohibit their employees, independent contractors, or other persons or entities, from participating in activities under...

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