Community Memorial Health System’s Aid‑in‑Dying Policy

Effective today, June 9, 2016, California Assembly Bill X2-15 goes into effect. This is the state bill, also known as the End of Life Option Act, that permits an adult (18 years of age or older) with a terminal disease and the capacity to make health care decisions to request and be prescribed an aid-in-dying drug if specified conditions are met.

Community Memorial Health System’s position and policy on this new bill is as follows:

The mission of Community Memorial Health System (CMHS) is to heal, comfort and promote health for the communities we serve. We strive to provide respectful, compassionate and personal care to all dying patients and their loved ones, and support the patient’s rights to make medical decisions, including accepting and refusing treatments at any time.

The End of Life Option Act is not a hospital-focused law; rather it is focused on the individual who is making the request and the physicians involved in the process. We strongly support the integrity and professionalism of our medical staff and encourage compassionate and honest communication between patients and physicians regarding therapeutic options at the end of life. What occurs privately in the patient-physician relationship, CMHS defers to the individual physician.

While reaffirming a deep sense of compassion and respect for patients at the end of life, our tradition and values within any and all facilities run by CMHS will not permit any active interventions whose sole purpose is to intentionally cause a patient to end their own life. Also, CMHS will not allow lethal prescriptions to be brought into or self-administered by any terminally ill patient in Community Memorial Hospital, Ojai Valley Community Hospital, Ojai Continuing Care Center (CCC), or any of its clinics.

However, CMHS will offer to the rare in-patient, or CCC resident, who requests aid-in-dying while in a CMHS facility, a dedicated interdisciplinary response team of professionals who will address their end of life request and work with them to coordinate their individual needs, including the identification of community resources.

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