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Compassion & Choices Applauds Governor for Signing Right-to-Know Act Improvements

AB 2139 gives terminally ill people better access to information about end-of-life options

(Los Angeles, CA – Sept. 26, 2014) Compassion & Choices today applauded Governor Jerry Brown for signing legislation that will require medical providers, after giving a patient a terminal PROGNOSIS, to inform their patients that they have a right to comprehensive information about their end-of-life options.

“It is very rewarding to know that dying patients who do not know they have rights under the law will now be advised of those rights,” said Toni Broaddus, Compassion & Choices’ California Campaign Director.  “This is a great victory for terminally ill Californians who will now be informed that they have the right to know all of their options, not just the ones recommended by their doctors.”

When a healthcare provider makes a diagnosis that a person has a terminal illness, the prior law required that the patient affirmatively ask their healthcare provider to provide comprehensive information and counseling regarding legal end-of-life options.  The new law requires the medical provider to advise the patient directly of their right to obtain the comprehensive information and counseling.  If the person’s healthcare provider does not wish to comply with the request for information on end-of-life options, he or she must provide for the referral or transfer of a patient to another provider.

AB 2139 was introduced by Assembly Member Susan Eggman.  Compassion & Choices supported the bill.  Hundreds of C&C supporters wrote the governor to urge him to sign AB 2139.

“Patients will now have meaningful access to information about all their options at the end of life,” added Broaddus. “It is wonderful that advances in medicine make it possible for so many to extend their lives, but not every illness can be cured. Prior to the law, patients and their decision makers may have never known they had the right to request this important information.”

Death with dignity is a legal medical option for terminally ill persons in Oregon, Washington, Montana, Vermont and New Mexico. Compassion & Choices currently has campaigns to make death with dignity legitimate, open and accessible in California, Colorado, Connecticut, Massachusetts and New Jersey.

Even in states without death-with-dignity laws, there are options to ensure that no one suffers needlessly at life’s end. To learn more about these options, and what is available to you where you live, call Compassion & Choices’ free End-Of-Life Consultation program at 1.800.247.7421.

Compassion & Choices is the nation’s oldest and largest nonprofit organization working to improve care and expand choice at the end of life. Leading the end-of-life choice movement for more than 30 years, we support, educate and advocate. In 2014, C&C launched a campaign to make death with dignity an end-of-life option for Californians. More information is available at: www.compassionandchoices.org.