HB 1141: Increasing access to Death with Dignity act to reduce Washingtonian’s needless suffering at the end of their life.
After 12 years of experience supporting individuals accessing the Death with Dignity law, it is clear that some of the protections in the bill lead to increased suffering. This new bill, HB 1141, will make important changes and updates to the law including reducing the waiting period, expanding providers to include Nurse Practitioners and Physician’s assistants and other important updates – see below updates for a full overview of the bill and it’s key points.
UPDATE: Monday, April 5, 2021
We must urge senators to pass HB 1141 this week!
There are inequities in our state that make the 12-year-old Death with Dignity Law unattainable for at least 1 in 3 terminally ill patients who seek to access the law.
We have 12 years experience in implementing the Death with Dignity law.
We see how other states are improving access to medical aid in dying.
This week, your Senator can support HB 1141 and help ensure that terminally ill Washingtonians have greater access to care, less suffering, and control of the decisions that affect the quality of their life and death.
We passed the Death with Dignity law together in 2008, now, let’s get these needed improvements to the law passed!
Your Washington State Senator needs to hear from YOU!
Contact them now via our quick action center.
Update: March 26, 2021
This morning, the Washington Senate Committee on Health & Long Term Care moved forward, voting 7 to 5 on approving HB1141, the Improving Access to Death with Dignity Act. This is great news!
We know there will be challenges facing this bill as it goes to the full Washington Senate for a vote. We will be sending out action alerts and opportunities for involvement in the next few days.
UPDATE: Wednesday, March 17th, 2021
End of Life Washington today urged members of the Washington Senate Committee on Health & Long Term Care to approve HB1141, the Improving Access to Death with Dignity Act.
The committee held a hearing today on the legislation, taking testimony from End of Life Washington President of the Board Bob Free, Compassion & Choices Action Network President and CEO Kim Callinan, medical providers and individuals who support the bill, and Dan Diaz, husband to Brittany Maynard. Brittany was a 29-year old woman with a terminal illness who made national news when she left her home state of California to access medical aid in dying in Oregon.
The committee will hold a vote on the bill in executive session this Friday March 19 at 8:00 am PT.
You can take two actions:
1. Ask your senator to weigh in:
Urge them to take action on this important bill that maintains core protections and increases access to Death with Dignity.
This bill makes crucial updates to our state Death with Dignity Act and will ensure that more people have access to a peaceful death when they are suffering from terminal illness.
2. Those wishing to express their support of the bill may submit written testimony no later than Thursday, March 18 at 8am PT by clicking on this link.
There was significant push-back and testimony in opposition from anti-choice groups and individuals: you can watch the video of the hearing here.
UPDATE: Thurs, Feb. 25, 2021
HB 1141 was passed by the Washington State House of Representatives by a vote of 60-37 – including bipartisan support.
Video of House Floor Debate and Discussion
We are deeply grateful for the bill’s sponsors, Rep. Skyler Rude and Rep. Nicole Macri for standing with terminally ill Washingtonians who want a compassionate end of life.
Our work isn’t finished yet.
We will keep you updated as it moves to the Senate!
HB 1141 Overview:
Skyler Rude, State Representative from the 16th Legislative District introduced HB 1141: Increasing access to Death with Dignity act to reduce Washingtonian’s needless suffering at the end of their life. After 12 years of experience supporting individuals accessing the Death with Dignity law, it is clear that some of the protections in the bill lead to increased suffering.
HB 1141: Increasing access to the Death with Dignity act
- Waiting period shortened from 15 days to 72 hours with additional authority of qualified medical provider to waive the waiting period if needed (if death is expected before 72 hours).
- Increased accessibility for prescription: electronic requests would be available in addition to faxed requests and medications can be received by mail, courier or an authorized pick-up.
- Qualified medical providers: Expands prescribing and consulting roles from physicians to Physician Assistants & Nurse Practitioners.
- Qualified Mental Health Screeners: Expands those qualified to do the mental health screening from psychiatrists and psychologists to also include: clinical social workers, advanced social workers, mental health counselors, and psychiatric advanced registered nurse practitioners.
- Easier electronic paperwork process for physicians documenting Death with Dignity.
- Religiously restricted medical systems can not prohibit qualifying medical providers from providing access to Death with Dignity outside their premises and while acting outside the scope of the provider’s capacity as an employee.
You can help get this bill passed by contacting your state legislators and asking them to support HB 1141. Sharing your personal stories and commitment to expanding end-of-life choices such as Death with Dignity encourages our legislators to pass these important updates to our Death with Dignity law.
Update: Jan 21, 2021: The House Health Care & Wellness Committee voted to pass this bill onto the House floor on Wednesday, January 20, 2021 after hearing testimony on HB 1141 on Monday, January 18, 2021 at 1:30 pm.
Video of testimonies below and further below video of House committee discussion including Rep. Skyler Rude’s personal comments on his support.
1:15:00 – Committee staff introduces HB 1141
1:18:15 – Rep. Skyler Rude presents HB 1141
1:22:26 – Joe Levy speaks in support of HB 1141 – He shares his family’s story: his father’s choice to use Death with Dignity and the agonizing pain his father endured during the 15 day waiting period.
1:25:00 – End of Life Washington board chairman Bob Free speaks in support of HB 1141 – notes EOLWA’s support and our experience with the waiting period and limitations
1:27:40 – Dr. Darrell Owens, DNP – Hospice and Palliative Care Nurse Practitioner – speaks in support of HB 1141 regarding expanding medical provider definition and expanding access and preventing disruption of care.
1:30:10 – Bishop Mueggenborg – WSCC – Washington State Catholic Conference – speaks in opposition to HB 1141.
1:33:32 – Conrad Reynoldson – speaks in opposition to HB 1141.
1:36:12 – Kim Callinan – Compassion & Choices – speaks in support of HB 1141 – noting that other states with Medical Aid in Dying have many of these improvements already included in their legislation.
1:38:43 – Zosia Stanley – General Counsel – Washington State Hospital Association – speaks in support of HB 1141.
1:40:40 – Roy Graves, MD – End of Life Washington Volunteer Medical Advisor – speaks in support of HB 1141 – noting specific cases of waiting periods and need for expansion of medical providers.
1:43:00 – Richard Doerflinger – speaks in opposition to HB 1141.
1:45:45 – Dr. Shane Macaulay – speaks in opposition to HB 1141.
1:48:16 – Dr. Kenneth Stevens – speaks in opposition to HB 1141.
Conversation Wednesday January 20, 2021 – HB 1141 begins at 19:40 until 28:06
Passed with vote of 11-4 and now moves to appropriations and then to House floor.
Watch this page and e-news for updates!