Today marks one year since the End of Life Option Act took effect and medical aid in dying became available in California.
Compassion & Choices has been tracking the progress and we’re happy to report that implementation of the law has been a huge success. Thanks to a monumental effort by the C&C California Access Campaign and our dedicated community of volunteers, we’ve made incredible strides in the last year.
The work of the C&C Access Campaign has a broad reach and touches many groups across the state including doctors, healthcare facilities and community organizations. Since the California law took effect on June 9, 2016:
✓ More than 12,000 users have visited the Access Campaign bilingual web resources that have dedicated resources for doctors, pharmacists, patients and families.
✓ Nearly 500 healthcare facilities and over 100 hospice locations have adopted policies supportive of patient choice and doctors who choose to participate in the law.
✓ More than 400 doctors have sought information about the law via statewide education outreach and our National Medical Directors have conducted dozens of one-on-one calls with California doctors via our toll-free Doc2Doc consultation program.
✓ Approximately 80 percent of private insurance companies cover the cost of medication, including Blue Cross, Blue Shield, Kaiser and all Medi-Cal plans.
✓ C&C staff and volunteers have held over 400 public presentations on the law statewide and encouraged Californians to take a more active role in their healthcare by demanding access to all of their available end-of-life care options.
✓ At least 504 terminally ill adults have received prescriptions for medical aid in dying based on inquiries to Compassion & Choices’ Doc2Doc consultation program. *We predict the total number of prescriptions written statewide will be significantly higher.
We won’t have the full statistics about the program until the state releases its data. But we have enough evidence to show it is working remarkably well in a state with a population 10 times the size of Oregon, where medical aid in dying has been authorized for 20 years.
Recently Dan Diaz said of his late wife Brittany Maynard, “She would be proud that her advocacy inspired our legislators to pass this law that enabled hundreds of terminally ill Californians avoid tortuous suffering.”
Sadly, Brittany did not live to see the law pass, but her work has already helped so many of her fellow Californians find peace in their final days.
Compassion & Choices will continue to honor her memory and that of our many advocates by providing education to the public and the medical community through the bilingual Access Campaign to ensure that every eligible terminally ill person has access to the End of Life Option Act.
Help support vital work and ensure we can continue to offer resources and education to medical professionals and communities across the state by making a donation today:
Thank you for all your help along the way and Compassion & Choices looks forward to many more chances to serve the people of California.