Analysis

Synopsis:

 House Bill 47/a (HB 47/a) Enacts the Elizabeth Whitefield End-of-Life Options Act. It amends a section of Chapter 30, Article 2 NMSA 1978 to establish rights, procedures and protections relating to medical aid in dying. HB 47 establishes reporting requirements and removes criminal liability for providing assistance pursuant to the Elizabeth Whitefield End-of-Life Options Act.

Analysis:

 House Bill 47/a (HB 47/a) enacts the Elizabeth Whitefield End-of-Life Options Act (EWEOL Options Act).

It allows a prescribing health care provider to write a prescription for medical aid in dying medication to an individual after the provider has determined the individual has a terminal illness, capacity to decide, the ability to self-administer; and is making a voluntary request. HB 47 requires the health care provider discuss certain information and consequences about the patient’s condition and the medication for medical aid in dying before prescribing it. It requires certain recordation of these qualifying facts, necessary findings and disclosures. 

Provides a template for a request for medication for medical aid in dying that the individual signs in front of two witnesses.

It allows for an individual with a current history of mental health disorder or an intellectual disability that could cause impaired judgement to be given medication for medical aid in dying only after a qualified mental health professional evaluates the individual and determines the individual is capable of making end-of-life decisions.

Requires a waiting period of forty-eight hours for filling of a prescription for the medication in medical aid of dying with certain exceptions.  There are record keeping requirements for the date and time the prescription was written.

It establishes provisions concerning an individual’s right to know of this alternative; a new cause of death on death certificates using this act; limitations in wills, and contracts, life insurance and annuities concerning conditioning provisions in these documents on a person’s rights under this act. For example, an insurance company may not deny coverage to an otherwise qualified person with a terminal illness based on the availability of medical aid in dying. 

Allows for immunities against civil or criminal liability, licensing sanction or other professional disciplinary action for either participating in or refusing to participate in the medical aid in dying including being present while the medication is administered. Refusal to participate is conscious-based.

Although a health care entity may refuse to participate in medical aid in dying, it may not prohibit or censure its health care providers for doing so as long as the health care provider acts offsite and outside the course and scope of his/her employment.  It may censure or otherwise punish a health care provider for providing this aid onsite if the entity has a written policy on the prohibition that was given to the provider. HB 47 imposes standards on the imposition of an entity’s sanctions for activity under the EWEOL Options Act. It requires disclosure of the health care’s entity prohibition on medical aid in dying to its patients and on its website.  

HB 47/a prohibits this act from being construed to allow another person to end an individual’s life by lethal injection, mercy killing or euthanasia. In the reverse, actions taken in accordance with the act will not be construed to be suicide, assisted suicide, mercy killing, euthanasia, homicide or adult abuse.

It defines adult, capacity, health care entity, health care provider; medical aid in dying; mental health professional; prescribing health care provider; qualified individual; self-administer; and terminal illness

Creates a new section of the Public Health Act that requires health care providers who prescribe in accordance with the EWEOL Options Act to report generic types of data on those patients who receive and/or use this medication and information about the provider’s participation to the department as required by departmental rules.  The department will promulgate an annual statistical report containing aggregated data based on these reports with certain specific classes of information required (total number of medical aid in dying prescriptions issued, for example).

It defines health care provider; medical aid in dying; and qualified individual.

Amends Section 30-2-4 NMSA 1978 to conform to the EWEOL Options Act by specifically exempting anyone participating under the act from the definition of assisted suicide. 

Roadrunner Capitol Reports - Legislative Tracking and Reporting Service.
www.roadrunnercapitol.com