Don't our kupuna deserve more than suicide promotion?
from Hawaii Family Forum, April 8, 2022
In 2018, the legislature told us that the new law allowing assisted suicide provided "rigorous safeguards [that] will be the strongest of any state in the nation and will protect patients and their loved ones from any potential abuse." We warned that those safeguards would be eroded.
In HB 1823 SD2 [Relating to Health] is now in the final stage: FULL SENATE VOTE. This is the time we need you to take action and make your voice heard.
TAKE ACTION NOW BY CLICKING THIS LINK
Proposed changes to the law include:
Authorize advanced practice registered nurses and physician assistants, in addition to physicians, to practice medical aid in dying in accordance with their scope of practice and prescribing authority;
Authorize psychiatric mental health nurse practitioners and clinic nurse specialists, in addition to psychiatrists, psychologists, and clinical social workers, to provide counseling to a qualified patient;
Reduce the mandatory waiting period between oral requests from twenty days to fifteen days;
Provide an expedited pathway for those terminally ill individuals not expected to survive the mandatory waiting period (basically allowing a doctor to waive ALL waiting periods if he/she doesn't think the patient can wait. This is very dangerous because doctors do not have a crystal ball. They could be wrong and it would be too late for the patient. People have lived much longer than physician expectations.)
Prohibits the disclosure or discovery of information collected or retained pursuant to incidental or routine communication between the department of health and qualified patients or providers (protection for DOH from releasing information. Where is the oversight?)
The majority of physicians do not want to participate in physician-assisted suicide, so Advanced Practice Registered Nurses and physician assistants (in HB 1823 SD2) have asked to expand their scope of practice. What happens when not enough of these practitioners step up?
Reducing the waiting period only expands the possibility of abuse and coercion. That means families have less time to be part of this important decision-making process.
Although five days doesn't seem like a big difference, we predict that this window will continue to be closed until waiting time is only 24 hours. Proof of that lies in the 4th point above. Physicians need only to "believe" the time period is too long. The actual language in the bill states: "If the terminally ill individual's attending provider attests that the individual will, within a reasonable medical judgment, die within fifteen days after making the initial oral request, the fifteen day waiting period shall be waived and the terminally ill individual may reiterate the oral request to the attending provider at any time after making the initial oral request."
Disclosure and discovery of information "because an attorney makes a request" is one way to ensure there is no coercion or abuse. It is not unusual to protect identities of patients and even providers. However, we don’t recall provisions that completely insulates the information from disclosure pursuant to a subpoena, for example. That is excessive. What happens if a patient’s family believes a provider coerced a patient into requesting PAS or short-cut the process? They would have few avenues to adequately investigate that under this provision. This is a far cry from the "strongest in the nation" safeguards we were promised.
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Legislative Deadlines this Week
There were some KEY deadlines this week that show the legislative session is getting close to that point where no more public input allowed (as far as submitting testimony is concerned.)
APR. 7 - FIRST CROSSOVER FOR CONCURRENT RESOLUTIONS - Deadline for concurrent resolutions to pass the required single floor vote in the originating chamber. Upon adoption by the originating chamber, concurrent resolutions move or "crossover" to the other chamber. (Measures must be filed by Wednesday, April 6.) Any resolution that did not make this deadline is dead
APR 8 - SECOND DECKING (BILLS) - Deadline for bills that have been amended by the non-originating chamber to emerge from all their committees (with committee reports filed) and be submitted to the clerk of that chamber. This "decking" ensures a mandatory 48-hour opportunity for final review by the non-originating chamber's members before third reading. (Note: House Bills with only a single referral need to be filed by the committee by April 7.). Any bill that has not reached this point is dead.
Upcoming Legislative Deadlines
APR 14 - SECOND CROSSOVER (BILLS) - Deadline for bills to pass third reading in their non-originating chamber and to "cross back" to the originating chamber.
APR 14 - LAST DAY FOR THE ORIGINATING BODY TO DISAGREE WITH BILL AMENDMENTS - The deadline for the originating chamber to disagree with changes made to its bills by the other chamber. When the Senate and House disagree on a bill, members from each chamber can meet in conference committees to reconcile their differences.
APR 19 SECOND LATERAL FOR SENATE CONCURRENT RESOLUTIONS - All Senate concurrent resolutions (SCRs) with multiple referrals must move to their final committee in the non-originating chamber (the House) by this day. (Must be filed by Monday, April 18.)
APR 22 - DEADLINE FOR FINAL FORM OF BILLS PROPOSING CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENTS - A proposed amendment's final form must be provided by written notice to the Governor prior to passing final reading by a 2/3 vote in each chamber. Once adopted by the Legislature, the proposed amendment is submitted to the voters, in the form of a 'yes or no' question on the ballot, for ultimate decision.