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Bill introduced to improve the Washington Death with Dignity Act

In the State Washington, members of Parliament are trying to improve the access to the Washington Death with Dignity Act that has been in effect since March 5, 2009. House Bill 1141 is about to remove roadblocks that prevent many terminally ill individuals from accessing medical aid in dying, especially those who live east of the Cascades and those with mobility issues.

Legislative process
On January 12, 2021, representatives Skyler Rude (R) and Nicole Macri (D) introduced House Bill 1141 in the House. On Monday, January 18, the Health Care & Wellness committee heard testimonies from several organisations and people, amongst others End of Life Washington Board President Bob Free and colleagues at Compassion & Choices. The day that Joe Biden was inaugurated, January 20, the bill was passed by the HC&W committee and went to the Appropriations Committee before going to the House floor. Check the travel of the bill here.

Reducing the waiting period & liberating the definition of medical provider
The key points of HB 1141 include reducing the waiting period and expanding the definitions of medical providers. The legislation would reduce the waiting period from 15 days to 72 hours, and allow the attending and consulting providers to waive the waiting period if the terminally ill individual’s death is imminent. HB 1141 would allow Advanced Practice Registered Nurses or Physician Assistants to act as either the attending or consulting medical provider for individuals who want to access the Death with Dignity Act. Finally, the bill would modernize the rules around how and when individuals can obtain their aid in dying prescription from a pharmacy.