CHA News Article

End of Life Option Act Takes Effect June 9

California’s new End of Life Option Act — which allows terminally ill patients to obtain a prescription from their attending physician for medication to end their life — takes effect on June 9. Hospitals are advised to develop and implement policies and procedures so that the medical staff, employees and others understand how to respond to patient inquiries about the Act. If a hospital has not adopted and disseminated a policy prohibiting its medical staff, employees or others from participating in end-of-life activities, the law will allow them to engage in the various activities authorized by the Act – such as prescribing an aid-in-dying drug or filling a prescription for such a drug, whether they are on the facility’s property or off-site but working on behalf of the hospital. Of course, a hospital can later establish a policy prohibiting or limiting participation in the Act, but unless and until a facility does so and gives notice of such a policy, medical staff and employees will be free to participate.

CHA has developed detailed information about the Act, including sample policies and procedures as well as talking points, posted at www.calhospital.org/end-life-option-act

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